From Stanley Uzoaru, Owerri
There was a stampede at the Imo State secretariat on Thursday, with civil servants jumping over each other trying to escape being caught in what has been described as a false alarm of a security breach by alleged by gunmen.
Our correspondent who visited the secretariat observed that staff of the ministries were seen attempting to outrun each other for safety when rumours spread of an attack.
The main entrance gate to the secretariat was under lock and key while the exit gate was open for the workers to escape, while visitors coming into the secretariat were refused entry.
Heavily armed security operatives wers quickly mobilised to quell the chaotic situation.
According to one of the workers who confided in Daily Sun on condition of anonymity, the stampede started when they observed that the normally mobile shuttle buses for workers were all parked at the ministry.
We saw all the shuttle buses at the premises of the secretariat and when we confronted the drivers on why they have shut down operation, they said there was a signal of attack.
‘The news circulated immediately that gunmen had planned to attack the state secretariat, that is why the whole workers fled the area,’ the witness said
Another civil servant said they may never return to work again until the crisis in the state subsides.
When contacted for comment, the Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Declan Emelumba, attributed the incident to a false alarm being raised by an individual who is not from the ministry.
Emelumba, who assured that the situation has been brought under control, added that the alarm was deliberate to cause panic among the workers.