By our correspondent
#TrackNigeria – The Commissioner of Police,CP Zubairu Muazu, mni has warned against the initiation and spread of fake news as the state gears up for the gubernatorial elections March 9,2019. CP Muazu issued the warning during a press briefing held Thursday at the Command Headquarters, Ikeja.
He said “Let me use this medium to sound a big warning to initiators and distributors of fake news. We will identify you, isolate you and bring you to justice.
“To the good and law abiding people of Lagos State, do not just believe everything you see on the social media, you are free to always verify such information or news from us before attempting to press the forward button on your phone, so that you will not become a victim of fake news. Remember, together we can continue to make Lagos State safe for all.
He said strategies have been reviewed toward the conduct of gubernatorial polls in Lagos. “We have reviewed and redoubled our strategies to ensure a peaceful conduct of Gubernatorial and State House of Assembly elections come 9th March 2019,” Muazu said.
The CP called on Lagosians to go about their lawful businesses and to continue to support the Police to serve them better by being vigilant and report any suspicious movement or persons to the Police through our emergency numbers.
The CP described the media as “formidable partners in making Lagos State the safest State in Nigeria.”
Presidential polls generally peaceful, except for few incidents in Lagos
The CP also reeled out the challenges the Lagos Command faced under his stewardship and how escalation of crisis during the presidential election was averted.
He said: “I assumed duty as Commissioner of Police, Lagos State in a crucial moment, the period of General Elections. The Command under my watch left no stone untouched in ensuring a peaceful electoral process; starting from campaigns and rallies by political parties, security of INEC offices across the state, the security of electoral materials, escorting materials to various Local governments and polling units, security of INEC staffs, election observers and electorates during the election as well as ensuring a peaceful post-election period.
“The just concluded presidential and National Assembly elections witnessed a massive deployment of Police Officers and personnel of sister security agencies across the state. The command setup a situation room at the Headquarters manned by all the security agencies to respond promptly to distress calls. We equally maintained standby units at the command Headquarters and strategic locations. Our Rapid Response Squads were placed on Red alert to promptly respond to emergencies.
“You are witnesses that the strategies we put in place have yielded positive results, which accounted for the peace enjoyed across the state during the presidential and National Assembly Elections.
“Lagos state did not experience any major incidence. The command provided enabling environment for voters to cast their ballots without fear or intimidation. Lives and properties of the good people of Lagos State were adequately secured. The entire electoral process was generally peaceful.
“I use the word generally, because one cannot rule out one or two instances of incidents in any setting. We have two of such incidence that would have erupted into major crises if not for our proactive approach and timely intervention.
According to the CP, “The first instance was the case of Ago Palace way, Okota where some hoodlums invaded some clustered polling units at Ohafia street, Baba Ewe, Ogunbala Avenue and Canal Avenue, where they set the few ballot boxes ablaze. Our prompt response led to the arrest of 9 suspects.
“I personally visited the scene and addressed the voters, which reduced the tension immediately after the incidence. I took further step by arranging a meeting of all the stakeholders, in the Palace of the Oba of Isolo. In attendance where Igbo Community leaders, Local Government Authority, market Unions, youth Organizations, Road Transport Unions, among others.
“The second incident occurred just yesterday after the declaration of Presidential elections result by INEC. At about 1430hrs, a group of youths trooped out in large number along Akar road, Okokomaiko, under the guise of celebrating the victory of their party, disrupted traffic along Lagos Badagry express way and caused a serious breach of the peace on the public and road users.
“The prompt response of the command brought the situation under control and 38 suspects were arrested. (The corpse) of one of the hoodlums was recovered while four others sustained injuries. Our battle ready Policemen successfully repelled an attack on our police station at Okokomaiko by the armed hoodlums. The divisional crime officer sustained deep injuries during the operation but responding to treatment at the Hospital
“One serious issue the command is contending with now, is the menace of fake news circulated on the social media, on a (planned) attack on Igbo traders in Lagos especially, in Oshodi and other prominent markets by hoodlums. The command did not only make press statement debunking such rumors but took practical steps to reassure the Igbo communities and all other residents of Lagos state of their safety.
We made massive deployment of our special force to streets and markets as well as vulnerable areas. We equally arranged town hall meetings over the last few days. Yesterday, we met with Igbo trading community, led by Eze Ndi Igbo of Oshodi, Hausa community, Yoruba community and others.
“Let me re-emphasis that Lagos State is peaceful and Lagosians are peace-loving people. There is no tribe or community under threat in any part of the state. Our patrol and surveillance are intensified.”