Police officers from the the Okigwe division of the Imo State Police Command, yesterday, accused youths from Arondizuogu community of defying the stay-at-home order to celebrate the Ikeji cultural festival and that a set of policemen were harrased.. Division Police Officer (DPO) for Okigwe, Chijioke Nwokoma, who disclosed this at a press conference in Owerri said elders of the community have disowned the decision to hold the festival because of the ban on social gathering as well as religious and cultural activities by the state government.
Nwokoma said the youths had rebuffed the order by elders of the community not to hold the annual festival. He said when police got to the scene of the festival, it met a large turnout of people and masquerades and that after several entreaties to disperse peacefully failed, the police had to retreat. Nwokoma said the youths with their masquerades, took advantage of the police retreating from the scene and chased them back to their station.
“No arrest was made, no life was lost, nobody was hurt. We didn’t want to be provoked to a level where there could be loss of lives. If you see the crowd you can imagine what could have happened if police did not retreat,” Nwokoma said. Imo state has not yet reported any case of the Covid-19 virus but neighboring states like Rivers and Anambra all have reported cases.