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Uzodinmas wife not abducted, says Imo govt.

• Panic as gunmen force residents to obey sit-at-home order
• IPOB opposes move by hospitals to bury unclaimed bodies

The Imo State Government, yesterday, described as wicked the speculation that wife of the governor of the state, Chioma Uzodimma, was abducted.

The state’s Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Declan Emelumba, said that the sponsors of the rumour were “devils’ agents.”

Emelumba said that those who do not wish the state well were the same people behind the abduction rumour.

MEANWHILE, palpable fear, yesterday, gripped residents of Imo State as gunmen forcefully enforced the sit-at-home directive of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).

Residents, shop owners, motorists and traders in Owerri capital city of the state and environs were forced to close shops and businesses in compliance with the sit-at-home order by IPOB.

The problem erupted when at about 10:00 a.m., traders in various markets, commuters and shop owners on various streets began to close and ran distances on hearing that the members of IPOB from neighbouring states had infiltrated the state to enforce the order.

The panic, The Guardian learnt, started from Ukwu-Orji to Ogbaku and Orogwe in Mbaitoli and Owerri West local councils of the state.

At Ehiogugu, Mbaise and Naze in Owerri North Local Council, shootings by gunmen were said to have scared residents of the place to return back to their homes.

Some of the tertiary institutions in the state also hurriedly shutdown amid the pandemonium caused by the gunmen.

Security operatives, including the police and soldiers, were quickly mobilised and armoured tanks deployed to strategic places in the capital city, including the Government House, Owerri entrance.

IN another development, the IPOB has opposed the move by the management of the Federal Medical Centre, Owerri and Aladimma General Hospital to conduct mass burial for dead bodies in their facilities.

The medical facilities had last week indicated their intention to bury unclaimed bodies in their mortuaries to make room for others.

IPOB, in a statement by its Media and Publicity Secretary, Emma Powerful, however, opposed the move.

It said that the bodies were innocent Biafrans killed in different parts of Imo State by security agencies, stressing that hurrying to bury them was an affront on the concerned families.