The Commissioner of Police for the Delta State Command, CP Ari Ali, has ordered the immediate detention of some patrol policemen incriminated in teargassing travellers, including a young girl, at Oghara in the Ethiope Local Government Area of the state on Monday.
The Police Public Relations Officer for the Command, DSP Bright Edafe, said, in a press release issued on Wednesday, that the disciplinary measure was taken against the officers “to serve as a deterrent to others.”
The PPRO disclosed that the attention of the state police command was drawn to the ugly incident through Facebook posts by local online publications.
One of the online publications, according to the police spokesman, read, “A girl feared dead after police used tear gas on travellers in Delta.”
The PPRO, however, described as erroneous the impression that a girl died in the incident.
Edafe stated, “To put the record straight, the Command wishes to state as follows: The Patrol team attached to Oghara Division, while on stop and search in Oghara, intercepted a Sienna vehicle conveying passengers from Sapele to Benin.
“An argument ensued between the policemen and the driver, which escalated to the use of tear gas by the policemen on the driver. The fumes affected a girl suspected to be an asthmatic patient. The Police, on noticing that she was unconscious, tried to revive her. When she regained consciousness, she declined going to the hospital, insisting she was okay and wanted to continue her journey to Benin city. She entered the vehicle and they all went to Benin safely.
“While the conduct of the said policemen is condemnable and totally unacceptable, it is also pertinent to state that it is very wrong and highly unethical for some social media influencers and journalists to make publications without recourse to the genuine state of the matter.
“Despite the publisher reaching out, and was informed by the PPRO that the girl in fact did not die, he still went ahead to caption the publication with such a misleading headline for the sole purpose of misleading the members of the public.
“The Commissioner of Police, who has since ordered the detention of the policemen to serve as a deterrent to others, is also advising the good people of the state to make judicious use of their social media handles by telling their followers the truth and not deliberately misleading them because they want traffic on their page. Fake news is not acceptable and should not be encouraged in anyway.”