Tension enveloped the sleepy town of Afaraukwu in Umuahia North LGA of Abia State as some explosive devices, suspected to be military relics of the Nigeria-Biafra civil war were on Thursday morning discovered at the Union Primary School, Afaraukwu near Umuahia of Abia State.
Meanwhile, as a result of the shocked fine, the school was immediately closed down indefinitely while the parents of the pupils of the school were directed to keep their children and wards at home pending the conclusion of investigations on the matter. Our reporter who visited the school saw it deserted as natives who live in the surrounding areas kept sealed lips when contacted.
The school is reportedly one of the flash points where the defunct Republic of Biafra stored its armoury as the war raged from 1967 to 1970. The then State House that housed the Biafran leader, General Emeka Odumegwu Ojukwu, known today as “Ojukwu Bunker” is a stone throw from the school.
Reacting to the discovery in a statement in Umuahia on Thursday, the state government said it is currently working with relevant security agencies in the state to unravel the source and nature of the suspected explosive devices found at Union Primary School, Afaraukwu in Umuahia North LGA.
According to the statement signed by the Commissioner for Information, Chief John Okiyi Kalu, “while initial examination of the devices show evidence of corrosion leading to suspicion of the materials being relics of the civil war era, we are awaiting definite official report from the EOD squad of the Nigeria Police who are currently investigating the incident.
“Meanwhile, necessary measures have been taken to protect the pupils and staff of the school with security sweeps ongoing while the school is temporarily closed.
“Governor Okezie Ikpeazu has directed security agencies to embark on proactive checks in other vulnerable locations out of abundance of caution.
“While we are grateful to God that there is no harm to life or property, we urge citizens and residents to continue to maintain vigilance and report suspicious situations to security agents”.
Uche Nwosu is a two time Shell Petroleum PLC award winner in the year 2000;
He won the Shell Award on Investigative Journalism and Environmental Cleanliness.