Command warns Lagos residents against spreading fake news
Deji Lambo and Daud Olatunji
The Ogun State Police Command, on Thursday, arraigned 142 suspects before the state Magistrates’ Court sitting in Isabo, Abeokuta, for alleged murder, robbery and disturbing the peace across the state during the ongoing lockdown.
The suspects were arraigned before courts 1, 3, 4, 7 and 8.
While some of the suspects were charged with three counts of robbery, illegal possession of firearms and conspiracy, others were arraigned for murder and disruption of the public peace.
At the Court 3, a total of 70 suspects were arraigned separately for robbery on the Abe-Koko Bank Road in Ifo, attempting to kill a police inspector, Sina Bankole, and killing one Kilani Idris.
The prosecutors, Adeyemi Olukoya and Opeyemi Adekunle, told the court that the suspects committed felony to wit; armed robbery contrary to Section 6(b) and punishable under Section 1(2)(a) of the Robbery and Firearm (Special Provision) Act, Cap R. 11, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.
The prosecutors added that the suspects terrorised innocent citizens and motorists by dispossessing them of their belongings at gunpoint.
They further told the court that the suspects allegedly belong to a secret society and also disobeyed the lockdown order of the Federal Government.
According to the prosecutors, the offences are punishable under Section 203 of the Criminal Code, Cap E 38, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004, as applicable in Ogun State.
Similarly, 51 suspects, were arraigned before the Court 4 on the same counts.
The prosecutor, Olukoya, said the suspects were arrested for robbery at the Agbado Crossing and Ifo areas of the state.
At the Court 7, a total of 26 suspects were arraigned for robbing residents of Olohunda in the Atan-Ota area of the state.
At the Court 8, a total of 28 suspects arrested at the Winners bus stop, Ota, and on Peter Road in Adiyan, were arraigned for robbery and involvement in cultism.
The prosecutors, Adekunle and O. H. Owotowose, said some of the suspects were members of the Eiye and Aiye confraternities.
They told the court that the suspects had been disturbing the peace of communities in the Ifo area of the state since the lockdown.
Magistrate O. O. Ogundele, ordered that the suspects be remanded in the state police command headquarters, Eleweran, Abeokuta.
The magistrate explained that the suspects could not be remanded in correctional centres because the centres were not taking new inmates due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Meanwhile, the Lagos State Police Command has cautioned residents to stop rumour-mongering and spreading of fake news in a bid to douse the ongoing tension as a result of the lockdown occasioned by the coronavirus pandemic in the state.
In a statement on Thursday, the state Police Public Relations Officer, Bala Elkana, said the spreading of fake news posed danger and was creating panic in the state, adding that such an action was affecting the command’s collective will to prevent and control crime in the state.
While assuring residents of their safety, Elkana noted that personnel of the command had been deployed in strategic locations to protect lives and property.
He said, “The Lagos State Police Command has received several calls and messages, mostly from residents of Igando, Idimu and Ikotun, among others, that a criminal gang, known as the One Million Boys, is planning to attack their communities. The command responded with a massive deployment of police patrol teams to beef up security in the areas and other parts of the state. Police special forces are strategically positioned and patrolling the length and breadth of the state.
“Recall that the Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, had deployed a seasoned crime fighter, the Deputy Inspector-General of Police, Peter Ogunyanwo, to have an on the spot assessment of the situation in Lagos and Ogun states as well as to coordinate the ongoing onslaught launched against criminal elements. The IGP has equally deployed special forces to support the tactical units initially deployed by the state Commissioner of Police, Hakeem Odumosu.
“The special forces were last night (Wednesday) deployed in Igando, Idimu, Ikotun, Agege, Dopemu, Abattoir, Mangoro, Alakuko and other parts of the state to provide round the clock patrols. The teams have clear instructions to deal decisively with criminal elements operating under whatever guise in accordance with the law. The command will not relent in its efforts at protecting the lives and property of the citizens and residents.”
While calling for calm in the state, the PPRO cautioned residents to refrain from spreading fake news in order not to jeopardise the command’s collective will to combat criminal elements in the state.
He added, “Members of the public, especially residents of the communities mentioned above, are enjoined to remain calm and support the ongoing efforts of the police in ridding the state of criminal elements. The command, with the support of the good people of Lagos State, has dealt a big blow on this criminal gang and several other gangs over the last four months. Over 800 members of the gangs and their leaders have been arrested and charged.
“They are still in correctional centres. No criminal gang is capable of unleashing terror on our communities. We are far bigger and stronger than the criminal elements.
“Rumour-mongering and spreading of fake news pose a lot of danger to our collective efforts in crime prevention and control. Before pressing the forward button or putting that call across, take some time to verify the source of the information. Avoid being a courier or victim of spreading fake news. Together, we will continue to keep Lagos safe.”