Fear, panic in Owerri over news of escaped zoo lion

Posted by News Express | 14 May 2014 | 6,917 times

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Fear and panic yesterday enveloped Owerri, the Imo State capital, as news spread about the purported escape of a male lion from the Nekede Zoological Gardens, after the gate was allegedly left open by mistake.

Panicky residents hurried home, abandoning evening activities as a police announcement about the incident was repeatedly broadcast over the radio and further spread by internet.

The announcement, signed by the Imo State Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Mr. Andrew Enwerem, had it that a lion had escaped from the zoo, warning residents to be careful about their movement until the lion was recaptured.

Enwerem, however, later withdrew the announcement, saying it was false and advising people to go about their normal businesses without fear.

On how the people came about the false information, the PPRO said: “We heard about the escape of the lion and quickly sent a patrol team to the zoo but on getting there it was discovered that the said lion did not escape but it was just a false alarm from one of the staff who had been arrested.”

A report by Daily Sun said that when contacted the General Manager of the zoo, Mr. Francis Abioye, also dismissed the information as false. According to him, “it was a false alarm raised by one of the security men at night, no lion has escaped. It is unfortunate people have been calling me from everywhere, we are deeply sorry for the panic it has caused.”

Source: News Express

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