By Ikeugonna Eleke
What was later found out to be fake news last Monday disrupted school activities in Awka, with most schools shutting down in fear. The fake news came in the form of rumours about the killing of some people in Awka.
The rumours first came that there had been shooting at the popular Eke Awka Market, while some people had also been killed.
The rumours escalated when some people started panicking after another version of the story had it that a principal of a popular government owned secondary school had been gunned down by rampaging gunmen.
By 12pm, students of schools in the state capital had been sent home by school managements, with most parents rushing to pick up their wards.
A parent, Mrs Uchechi Obi, who spoke to Fides, said, ‘I am hearing too many stories; some say there have been killings at Eke Awka, other versions say unknown gunmen are in Amawbia and had attacked a school, killing the principal.
‘I don’t know which one is true, but to be on the safe side, I decided to go and bring back my child.’
As at 2pm, all schools in the state capital had officially closed, with pupils sent home.
Checks by Fides however revealed that the rumour was triggered by gunshots said to have been fired by security operatives at Eke Awka where they had gone to arrest a criminal said to be involved a recent attack on police.
Spokesperson of the Anambra State Police Command, DSP Toochukwu Ikenga, when contacted, said he was not aware of any gunmen’s attack in Awka.
‘I’m not aware of it. I have heard the rumours too, but there is nothing like that to my notice now. I will let you know if we get such information,’ Ikenga said.
He however confirmed that police operatives had released shots at Eke Awka while trying to arrest a suspect who was said to have participated in a recent attack on a police patrol team.