The Imo State House of Assembly on Tuesday urged the state government to declare a state of emergency at the state-owned zoo and overhaul its management.
This was just as the police on Tuesday arrested one of the zoo workers, a woman, for raising an alarm that a male lion in the zoo had escaped.
This prompted the police to issue a statement warning members of the public to be careful with their movement.
The resolution of the Imo State House of Assembly followed the report of its Committee on Ethics and Privileges, which investigated the devouring of a female lion by a male lion in the zoo.
The committee also investigated the death of a giant tortoise valued N250,000 and a crocodile valued at N500,000 in the zoo.
In his contributions, Hon. Ugonna Ozurigbo (PDP-Nwangele) decried the panic in the state over the rumoured escape of the lion from the zoo on Monday.
Ozurigbo said: “The lion is rumoured to be at large in Owerri West.
“I wish to call for the permanent closure of the zoo as activities there are unserious and at high risk.”
Also, Hon. Innocent Ekeh (APC-Owerri West) confirmed the incident and informed the assembly that he had received several calls over the rumoured escape of the lion.
Ekeh, who called for the management of the zoo to report to the Assembly for further clarification, blamed the incident on the management’s recklessness.
The member representing Ideato North, Hon. Eudora Igwe, called for increase subvention to the zoo management to ensure its smooth running.
Igwe noted that the lion would not have escaped if the premises had been properly secured and called for total renovation and rehabilitation of the zoo.
Ruling, the Deputy Speaker, Hon. Donatus Ozoemena, who presided over the session, noted that there was urgent need for change in the zoo.
Ozoemena directed the member representing Owerri West to visit the zoo and confirm the rumoured escape.
However, the police on Tuesday said the alarm raised by the lion’s keeper was false.
The Police Public Relations Officer in the state, Andrew Enwerem, said the alert issued by the police was based on the false news.
Sources told The Eagle Online that the lion’s keeper raised the alarm immediately she could not find the lion on Monday night.
However, the lion, The Eagle Online was told, only hid itself between the bamboos in its play area.
But because it had a history of violence, its keeper raised the alarm.
The male lion was reported to have killed its female counterpart before now.