Yuletide: Police informant warns traders of impending bomb blast in Ariaria market

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There is growing panic in Ariaria MarketAba, Abia State, on a possible bomb attack, ICIR can confirm.

A senior police source had approached market management to issue the warning on Tuesday, December 7.

The police officer who came to the Ariaria market president’s office around 12:20 p.m. warned executives to be extra careful.

The officer was disappointed that the market leader, an uncle of Governor Okezie Ikpeazu, was not seated as at the time of the visit.

Path to the staircase leading to the office of the president of the Ariaria market. Photo source: Olugbenga Adanikin, ICIR.

He approached the market leader’s personal assistant to ask for the president’s cellphone number and made a call, which he said he wouldn’t have made over the phone had it not been for the sensitivity of the case.

“Can you hear me? Certain vehicles coming from the North, those of your customers, and fellow traders. What you are going to do is inform your security officers so that they can issue an alert and search the vehicles due to a security breach,” he said in a phone conversation.

“I will ask. I’m just telling you. That’s why I asked after you,” the police officer replied, after being asked to meet with the chief security officer (CSO) of the market as the president was unavailable.

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“What you will do is place a security alert on the market.”

“Let them know before anyone comes in, they’ll have to do a check to avoid a bomb,” the policeman said, tapping on the nearby table.

“I’m not supposed to tell you that on the phone. I should see you physically, but since the situation is really urgent, that’s why I asked you.

“I will drop my number with your PA. That’s my number. Maybe when you come back, you can call me.

The officer then descended the stairs to continue the conversation. Shortly after, he asked to see the CSO.

But the CSO was not in the office either, learned the policeman.

Subsequently, he asked to see the CSO’s personal assistant.

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CIRI reporter watched his meeting with the CSO’s AP in a private office.

It has been learned that traders from Cameroon, Gabon and other neighboring countries in the West African region visit the market for trading activities.

The market is expected to see more visits from traders, especially as people shop for goods ahead of Christmas and New Year celebrations.

The southeastern states have, in recent times, experienced a certain level of insecurity due to secessionist unrest and the crisis between herders and farmers.

The state of insecurity, however, is not unique to the region but to other parts of the country where kidnappings, killings and other forms of anxiety have become commonplace.

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Onyebuchi Ememanka, the Governor’s Chief Press Secretary (CPS), was contacted for a reaction but he did not respond to calls and text messages sent to him. The WhatsApp message sent to him has also not received a response.

WhatsApp message to CPS to Governor of Abia State acknowledged with no response. Photo credit: Olugbenga Adanikin, ICIR.

Abia State Police Command spokesman Geoffrey Ogbonna also did not respond to calls and a text message sent to him for comment.

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