There was palpable fear and apprehension at the popular Ophoke-Abba market, Kpiri-Kpiri in Abakaliki, Ebonyi State capital, following the discovery of a substance suspected to be an Improvised Explosive Device (IED).
The incident which occurred around 4pm on Monday forced the market to close early as traders and buyers hurriedly deserted the market.
A trader at the market, Paul Onwe, who spoke to journalists, said there was commotion in the market as people were seen scampering
“People suddenly started running and shouting bomb! bomb!! that a bomb has been planted by unknown people in the market.
“In seconds the news went round the entire market and people were running helter skelter, while children were crying.
“I managed to park my wares, lock my shop and ran out of the market; I have never witnessed a scene like that before in my life,” Onwe said.
Another eyewitness, Mrs. Edith Agu, said that the news of an alleged discovery of a substance suspected to be a bomb planted at a section of the market caused commotion while people raced out of the market for safety.
“The entire market was thrown into pandemonium and confusion while both the young and old ran spontaneously out of the market.
“It was like a war scene. I have never experienced such an incident in my entire life but I was happy there was no stampede during the entire episode,” Agu said.
Police Spokesman in the state, Loveth Odah, confirmed the incident
“The Divisional Police Officer in charge of the area received information that a substance was discovered at a shop in the market and he went to the area with officials of the Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) of the Nigeria Police.
“The substance suspected to be an explosive has been evacuated and taken to the office for expert analysis; for now we don’t know what the substance is until after careful investigation,” the spokesman said.