Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Boko Haram: Cripple Causes Scare in Owerri, Imo

Residents of Owerri, the capital of Imo State, were thrown into panic at the weekend, following the failed bid of a crippled beggar, suspected to be a member of the Boko Haram sect to set ablaze a petroleum tanker that fell near the Asumpta Cathedral, around the ever busy Control junction.

But in a swift reaction, the state Police Command dismissed the existence of members of the Islamist sect in the state, saying that what happened was an accident. The police also debunked speculations that the cripple had wanted to set the church ablaze.
Boko Haram: Cripple Causes Scare in Owerri, Imo
However, according to witness account, the cripple beggar,  identified as Destiny, from one of the northern states, had allegedly scaled the fence of the Asumpta Cathedral building with a lighter, while fire fighters and other volunteers were battling to prevent a fire outbreak, before he was caught by a vigilant passerby.

“When the tanker fell while trying to negotiate the bend, fuel started gushing out and was flowing into the Church premises. So, people ran out of the area, afraid that the tanker may explode. There was commotion and traffic gridlock at that point and if it had gone up in flames, the casualty figure would have been very high. But thank God the suspect was apprehended before he carried out his evil plan,” said the source.

But the suspect, who claimed to be a Christian denied any connection with Boko Haram, insisting: “I was climbing the fence to get some leaves when the fuel was pouring out, but some people pulled me down and when they saw the lighter in my pocket which I use for smoking, they said that I wanted to set fire on the church which is not true.”

The state Police Public Relations Officer, Mr. Andrew Enwerem, a Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP), said the incident was a mere accident.

“When the Police got to the place, we searched the suspect and nothing was found on him and he was allowed to go; no arrest was made.”

It was just a wolf’s cry, there is nothing like Boko Haram involvement; it was purely a case of accident,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Archbishop of Owerri, Anthony Obinna, who doubles as the Bishop of the Asumpta Cathedral, has  expressed worry over the incessant petroleum tanker accidents at the Control Junction.

He said the incident occurred while the Church was holding its evening Mass.  “I was celebrating Mass when we perceived heavy smell of fuel coming into the Church. When we looked out, there was noise which attracted my attention and when I came out, I saw that a tanker had fallen and a cripple was apprehended while he was climbing the fence of the cathedral.”

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