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 Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Orlando Ikeokwu, who confirmed the incident also denied any riot by the crowd.
However, Abia Government has condemned what it described as acts of extra-judicial killing by security agents in the state.
A personnel of Abia command of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) whose name was given as Richard on Wednesday shot and killed a commercial vehicle driver, Amobi Igwe, at Umuikaa junction, near Aba.
This came barely one week after a police Inspector shot and killed a petrol attendant after his bullet missed a motorist who allegedly failed to comply with the lockdown directives.
In a statement, the commissioner for Information, Chief John Okiyi-Kalu, said the state government roundly condemned the extra-judicial killings.