WARRIâ€”The man in the centre of the mystery lion rumour that rocked Warri, Delta State, earlier in the week, Olorogun Kenneth Gbagi, has dismissed insinuations of ownership of the lion.
Prophet of the Church of All Nations, Temitope Joshua, was alleged to have prophesied that a lion would run amok in Warri and attack people, and this forced many private school proprietors at Effurun, near Warri, to shut down their schools.
But reacting to the development yesterday, Gbagi, who conducted newsmen round his house, said he had no underground cage where he trained lions, as speculated.
Gbagi, an hotelier in Effurun, said workers of an oil company who had one or two things to do with his hotel panicked also.
â€œI believe the rumour was borne out of the joblessness of many people,â€ he said, adding that anybody who had a job to do would not find time to peddle such rumour.â€
Though he said he was not training a lion in his house, Gbagi noted that there was no law prohibiting anyone from doing so and wondered why people were not talking about religious inclination, given the fact that he has a church in his compound.
He said he was not interested in joining issues with anybody on the wicked rumour but for the fact that some closed persons called and asked him to â€œdo something about itâ€ because of the negative image it was bringing to him.
The industrialist, who owns the biggest shopping plaza in Delta State, said he was not perturbed, even if it was a strategy by his business competitors to rub mud on his name.
He said if the rumour was the handiwork of politicians, it had only succeeded in making him more popular and told those behind it to hold their gunpowder, saying he would declare him political interest when the time was ripe.
Gbagi called on the government to provide jobs for people, so they could be engaged and do something useful for themselves, rather than engage in rumour peddling, as an idle mind is the Devilâ€™s workshop.
Olorogun Gbagi said his wife and children who were speculated to have been flown to India were with him in Warri.
Vanguard saw the wife and children, last Sunday, at the politicianâ€™s Woodridge Hotel in Effurun when this reporter went to speak with Gbagi on the raging rumour.
Chairman of Uvwie local government council, Mr. Abugewa, who also spoke to newsmen, said it was a bad, baseless and unfounded rumour, saying he had been trying to trace the source, but to no avail.
Abugewa confirmed that there was confusion in Effurun over the rumour but said the council took steps to douse the ensuing tension , as he went on air to tell the people that there was no iota of truth in it.