Residents of Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital, on Wednesday afternoon hurried home as rumours of an imminent attack by hoodlums agitating for #ENDSARS spread round. Offices quickly dismissed members of staff as everybody made their way home with shops locking their doors against customers.
The Neighbourhood Correspondent who went round the state capital on Wednesday afternoon saw shops, including pretty traders’ spots, locked or deserted. Along the popular Ada George Road vehicular traffic got to a halt as many car owners sought to head home or out of danger zone. When The Neighbourhood Correspondent got to the Ada George/Iwofe Road Junction, there was a heavy traffic jam. Volunteer traffic wardens who usually assisted to control traffic along the stretch of the road, from the Mechanic Junction end to the Location Junction, all ran for safety. Some volunteers were seen assisting to clear the jam.
The pandemonium occurred after protesting youths had attacked the Ikoku area of the town in the Mile 2 axis earlier in the day, setting bonfire which disrupted movement of vehicles and persons. They, however, got repelled by a detachment of anti-riot policemen. The youths later moved to the Mile 1 area where they attempted to attack the Mile 1 Divisional Police Station at Rumuwoji. That attempt pitched them against a team of policemen which eventually dislodged them. The youths launched some targeted attacks on some traders of a particular ethnic group within that same vicinity. The police, however, also intervened and prevented any bloodbath.
The police eventually dislodged them but kept a heavy presence at the entrance to the Divisional Police Station. They also mounted roadblocks and at some instances frisked pedestrians walking into the premises, while vehicles were allowed in only after thorough search.
Some shop owners, including roadside Point of Service, POS, providers, who spoke to The Neighbourhood said their decision to close shops was as a precaution. Customers at a popular supermarket along Ada George, who went to make purchases, were attended to through barricaded iron-gauze pigeon-hole. When asked why the resort to such relationship, attendants at the supermarket told The Neighbourhood it was at the instruction of the owner of the outfit.
The Police Public Relations Officer, PPRO, for the Rivers State Police Command, SP Nnamdi Omoni, was unable to be spoken with as of the time of this report.