The Police on Tuesday said they arrested a female suspect over fake news in connection with the kidnap and murder; of the wife of a Kaduna based medical doctor, Philip Ataga.
The Force Public Relations Officer (FPRO), DCP Frank Mba disclosed this at a news briefing in Abuja.
Mba disclosed that the suspect was arrested in connection with a post, circulated on social media. The post stated that a police officer was involved in the kidnap and murder of the doctor’s wife. However, Mba described this as fake news which led to the prompt arrest of the source of the news.
Ataga’s wife and her two children were abducted from their home at the Juji community; specifically, in Chikun Local Government Area of the Kaduna State. The incident occurred on Saturday, January 25, 2020.
Meanwhile, the abductors killed a member of a local vigilante group in the area during the operation. However, a week after their abduction; the body of the woman was found before the two children were later released.
Mba said while the Police was working on the abduction and unfortunate murder of the woman; a damaging story that went viral was posted on social media.
He said the story made a very strong allegation that a police man was involved in the kidnap; as well as subsequent murder of the doctor’s wife.
Circulating fake news is a criminal offence, Police declare
“It was a very damaging story and police operatives immediately set out to investigate the source; as well as the origin of the story. After days of investigation, the post that went viral was traced to the suspect who is a teacher in Kaduna.
“This is a classic example of fake news and the problem with this kind of fake news is that; it can set the people against the police,” he said.
Further, he noted that the fake news could also damage the relationship between the police and the public.
According to him; the success of every police agency or department is predicated on the kind of support it receives from the public.
“Fake news of this nature are distractions. The resources that would have been used to investigate important cases are diverted to investigating the source of this kind of story. We want to use this opportunity to appeal to the public, particularly the youths; to exercise caution in the use of the social media.
“You have to be circumspect before pushing out information. If you are not sure of the authenticity, please don’t push out the information,” he added.
Mba said it was a criminal offence to circulate false information; adding that cyber laws were very clear about the offence.