There was palpable tension in Onitsha, Anambra State on Wednesday following alleged reprisal attack plot by angry youths on Shoprite Shopping Complex.
The Nation gathered that the irate youths had stormed the Shoprite facility and nearly gained access to the building but for immediate intervention of security operatives.
The irate youths had planned to register their displeasure against the xenophobic attacks of Nigerians in South Africa.
The video of the attacks, which went viral on the social media, had triggered the youths’ anger as they threatened to attack Shoprite and other South African owned business outfits in the commercial city.
The attention of the Police, Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) and Anambra State Vigilante, AVS, were however drawn to the unusual movement of youths as they quickly cordoned off all the roads linking to the mall.
Consequently, authority of Shopping Complex, quickly directed staff to leave the mall to forestal any attack while residents and customers scampered for safety for fear of being caught in the crossfires.
When our correspondent visited the area, the ever busy shopping complex was a ghost of itself.
Human and vehicular movements were restricted by heavily armed and stern- looking Policemen.
Some of the youths were however sighted lurking around as they sought for the slightest opportunity to cause mayhem in the complex.
Efforts by reporters to take photographs of the closed shopping complex were rebuffed by the stern- looking security men who insisted no shots be taken.
There were however skeletal services at the two outlets of the MTN office in Awka, Anambra state capital.
Staff of the company were at the close of work on Tuesday instructed to operate from home following Monday xenophobic attacks in South Africa.
An officer, who spoke with The Nation on condition of anonymity, said: “We can’t toy with the safety of our staff and customers in view of the recent events in the Country.