The Imo State Police Command has said the report in some national dailies claiming that gunmen enforcing sit-at-home on Monday bombed popular Izombe Market in Oguta Local Government Area and killed traders was a false.
The State Commissioner of Police, Mohammed Barde, disclosed this in a statement the Command issued on Tuesday.
He also issued a 24-hour ultimatum for Daily Sun Newspaper to retract the story.
The News Agency of Nigerian reports that some national and online media reported on Monday that gunmen enforcing sit-at-home bombed Izombe Market in Oguta Local Government and killed scores of people.
The report further stated that bandits had earlier issued a threat to the leadership of the market over violation of the Monday’s sit-at-home.
The CP said the report was a calculated attempt to undermine the already achieved peace in the state.
Barde threatened that the command would take legal action against the newspaper if it failed to retract the story within 24 hours.
He said: “The attention of the Imo Police Command has been drawn to a false newspaper publication in the Daily Sun Newspaper of 21st June, 2022, captioned ‘SIT-AT-HOME: Gunmen Bomb Imo Market, Scores Injured.’
“The command is miffed and view this publication as malicious, false, misleading and a calculated attempt to undermine the already improved security situation being enjoyed in the state.
“May I, at this juncture, state the true facts surrounding the incident that actually occurred on 20/6/2022 in Izombe Central Market.
“It is on record that there was no bomb explosion in Izombe Central Market on 20/6/2022, and there was no record at the disposal of the command that, the traders were in anytime warned by members of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) against Monday market.
“However, preliminary investigation conducted by the Police on arrival at the market while responding to a distress on 20/6/2022 revealed that some overzealous miscreants came to the Izombe Central Market in Oguta LGA of Imo State, on a motorcycle.
“They went to a stationed vehicle where the conductor was canvassing for passengers traveling to Owerri and set it ablaze in the name of enforcing sit-at-home order in the community and left almost immediately after the act.
“However, no life was lost and most of the people have left because it was the close of market.
“The command considers this publication not only unprofessional but also believes it’s at variance with the ethics of the profession of journalism.
“To this end, the Nigeria Police, Imo Command hereby demands a retraction or correction of this offensive news publication in the Daily Sun newspaper within 24 hours.
“The command will have no choice but to take appropriate legal action against the publisher if they fail to act accordingly.
“The CP commended the good people of Imo for their unalloyed support given to the command and enjoined them to disregard false news as it is capable of causing palpable tension as well as installing fear in the state.”