Panic in Ogun, Lagos Over Rumoured B’Haram Invasion

Lagos-Ibadan Expressway ...on Wednesday

There was anxiety in Ogun and Lagos states on Wednesday after news filtered in that suspected Boko Haram members had taken over the Sagamu area of Ogun State and were heading for Lagos.
PUNCH Metro learnt that the news was spread through social media and text messages.

A copy of the message received by our correspondent read, “Breaking news, if you are on the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway going towards Ibadan, please turn back. Eighteen suspected Boko Haram members with AK47 rifles are on the highway now displaying their skills.
“Nine policemen and 11 civilians have been confirmed dead by the gunmen while trying to stop them from shooting. Please rebroadcast to save a life. May God help us in Nigeria.”
It was learnt that upon receiving the information, the various security agency deployed their personnel in the affected areas.
It was learnt that policemen from Lagos, Ogun and Oyo states visited Sagamu and the Lagos-Ibadan Expresway with helicopters, while the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps as well as the National Emergency Management Agency rushed to the scene, hoping to save some lives.
On getting to the scene, however, there was no sign of any terrorist attack.
Commissioner of Police, Lagos State Command, Umar Manko, said there was indeed a confrontation in the area, but it had nothing to do with terrorists.
 “In the morning, a truck laden with wheat around Fidiwo Village in Ogun State broke down. Some hoodlums wanted to seize the opportunity to steal some of the goods and there was a confrontation. There was no terrorist attack,” he said.
Manko urged members of the public not to spread fear by broadcasting false messages.
“We cannot police social media, all we can do is to correct wrong impression, but we want to urge members of the public not to spread falsehood.”
Police Public Relations Officer in Ogun, Muyiwa Adejobi, said the Nigerian Army, the Federal Road Safety Corps and the Ogun State Traffic Compliance and Enforcement Corps were able to move the broken down vehicle from the scene.
“Probably the rumour mongers took in the presence of police and other security agencies who were at the point to clear the obstruction between Fidiwo and Ogunmakin in Obafemi Owode Local Government and decided that there was something wrong. We urge the public to disregard the rumour.”
The spokesman, NEMA, South-West zone, Ibrahim Farinloye, told our correspondent that the military Joint Task Force had also been deployed in Ogere as another rumour had it that 20 policemen were also killed in the area.
He said it was unfortunate that people had seized the opportunity of the security situation in the country to evoke fear in the minds of people.
“Included in the response team on the false alert are military JTF, the State Security Service, FRSC, NSCDC, police from Ogun, Lagos and Oyo  states with the deployment of police aerial chopper. They all carried out searches and surveillance in different ways.
“The JTF is presently manning the Ogere end of the expressway when another rumour had it that about 20 policemen were killed.”
The false alarm caused gridlock as many motorists were said to have turned back towards Lagos.
Policemen at Kara, a border area between Lagos and Ogun states, were also said to have mounted a temporary roadblock as part of efforts to forestall entry of Boko Haram members
A senior police officer said, “We did not want to take any chances. We checked vehicles, especially trucks entering into Lagos.
“There was traffic congestion, but after we had confirmed that there was no cause for alarm, we allowed vehicles to move freely.”
Meanwhile in Abuja, Minister of Information, Labaran Maku, said the Federal Government felt the pains of Abuja residents who are compelled to endure traffic jam as a result of security checks along some major roads in the Federal Capital Territory.
He appealed to those affected to appreciate the challenges the country is passing through and urged them to make sacrifices.
“We understand the pains our citizens are going through, we have indeed tried to find out from security services how we are going to manage this road blocks.”
In a related development, The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the Oyo State Police Command also dispelled the rumour of Boko Haram attack and urged residents  to desist from spreading false information.
The command’s spokesperson, SP Olabisi Okuwobi-Ilobanafor, said, “The story that 18 suspected Boko Haram members operated on the highway with AK47 rifles, killing nine  policemen and 11 civilians is untrue.
“There was an occurrence of a lone auto accident involving a trailer loaded with bags of wheat. FRSC officials, policemen   and other security officers were only at the scene to control traffic and clear the gridlock,” she said

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