BY Victoria Ikeano, Lafia
The Nasarawa State police command headed by Commissioner of Police, Bola Longe, has urged residents to desist from all forms of rumour mongering, misinformation and falsehood as they portend danger to all concerned, including the state and nation at large. The police was reacting to a recent viral information which alleged that several youths were arrested in parts of Lafia, the state capital, for wandering at night, taken to the A Division police station where they were made to pay huge sums of money before being released.
Upon receipt of the information through a text message from a supposedly credible source, this cortespondent contacted the state police command through its public relations officer, Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) Ramhan Nansel asking why they were picked up for night wandering since the law on wandering had long since been scrapped and why such huge money should be extorted from them for their release. ASP Nansel immediately doubted its veracity. “You mean in this period of tension with what is happening, policemen are doing that .. I do not believe it. Let them come and take me to the police station and the DPO where it took place”, he demanded.
Answering a question, the Police PRO explained that people could be arrested if found in black spots such as places prone to crimes – areas harbouring cultists, drug addicts and other social deviants as well as red light districts. He was quick to add that those picked up in such environments are investigated and those found not wanting, promptly released
This correspondent reverted to its source who gave an address of a person whom he said was involved and could bring the other ‘’arrested” people to me. After days of prevaricating, this other person (names withheld) eventually opened up, confessing, “it is not like that, not the way they are saying it”. Asked what transpired, he stated, “My aunty in Lagos phoned me that one of our relatives in Lafia was arrested around ‘On the Move’ garage area and taken to A Division police station ….. Upon getting there I saw many similarly arrested youths in the station ….. I paid only N2,000 to bail and release him … Madam, what am telling you is the truth, please don’t write my name”, he concluded.
It is concluded that either those involved or those that heard the story amplified, garnished it, spreading the misinformation.
On its advice for the citizens, the Nasarawa State Police Command enjoined them “to desist from spreading all manner of falsehood aimed at denting the image of the Police Command, thus creating tension and disaffection between the people and the Police”. ASP Nansel further stated, “the good people of the state should cooperate with the Police and reach out to us anytime in case of any distress or complaints on 08112692680, 08108795930 and 08037461715”.