This Police High Command in Rivers State has given an official version of what led to a stampede in a community secondary school in the State capital.
In a statement by its spokesman, Deputy Superintendent of Police Nnamdi Omoni, on behalf of the commissionDr, narrated the unfortunate detonation detonation of a tear-gas canister by a student, adding that normalcy had returned to the school while investigations were on.
The Police statement was silent on the alleged face-off between out-going students of Senior Secondary Class 3 (SS3) and SS2 which culminated in the bringing in of the canister and some alleged firearms.
The statement reads in full:
RE: ALLEGED ATTACK ON COMMUNITY SECONDARY SCHOOL OROWORUKWO PORT HARCOURT-
The attention of the Rivers State Police Command has been drawn to a video making the rounds and trending on social media, on the alleged attack of the students and staff of Community Secondary . School, Oroworukwo by student cultists and unknown persons.
2. Honestly, the Command is disturbed by this development and consequently wishes to disabuse the minds of the public and state the true position as follows:
i. That on the 23rd May, 2019 at about 1030hrs, the principal of Community Secondary School Oroworukwo, Mrs. Ruth Major, lodged a complaint with the OIu-Obasanjo Police Station on the detonation of a chemical weapon (canister) by two students of the school; which act caused stir and panic in the school,
That on the receipt of the complaint, the Divisional Police Officer (DPO) CSP Lucky Omoniyi detailed ASP Love Tenalo to the scene, whereupon, two students namely: Nicodemus Nkaparo ‘m’ 18 years and Darlington Sylvanus ‘m’ 17 years were arrested and taken to the station.
iii . At the station, the Principal made statement in relation to her complaint and the two suspects were cautioned and equally made their statements, where they admitted detonating the substance but however denied knowing that it was a chemical substance capable of causing panic and tension.
In his statement, Nicodemus Nkaparo confessed to have brought the canister from their house, which was part of the belongings of his deceased elder brother who was a Policeman. He stated further that he did not know that it was a chemical weapon (teargas) which could cause panic and tension. But unknown to him, his friend Darlington Sylvanus detonated the substance, which threw the whole school into confusion, as people scampered for safety while some sustained injuries.
v. That at the end of the interrogation, the two suspects were given administrative bail and released unconditionally to report back on Monday, 27th May, 2019.
vi. That as part of the investigation, the police team executed search in the houses of the suspects but nothing incriminating was found. Furthermore, the team visited the scene and the hospital where three students were receiving medical attention.
vii. That at the end of this exercise, the team called all the staff and students of the school and assured them of their protection and warned them to be law abiding, as the Police will not spare any effort in dealing with delinquent students.
At this point, it has become increasingly necessary to state in an unmistakable terms that:
i . The incident at the Community Secondary School Oroworukwo is not a terrorist attack nor an attempt to kidnap the students.
ii. That it has not semblance of cult attack.
iii. Investigation is still ongoing with a view to unraveling the circumstances surrounding the incident and bringing the culprits to justice.
iv That so far normalcy has been restored in the school and its environs, as normal school activities have resumed in ernestu
v. That the Rivers State Police Command is poised to ensure that sanity is maintained in all primary and tertiary institutions in the State and to guard against security breach in schools.
Members of the public are hereby advised to increase their security consciousness by closely monitoring the activities of their children. Also, Heads of both private and public schools are enjoined to increase their security consciousness in schools and mildly subject their students to polite and decent search, when coming and going out of school. Security is everyone’s business.