The police in Zamfara State on Thursday debunked a spreading report which detailed purported murder of 120 people by herdsmen in the state, warning media practitioners to display an acceptable degree of intellectual curiosity before publishing contents.
The state commissioner of police, Shaba Alkali, told PREMIUM TIMES Thursday afternoon that his command had not witnessed such a chilling attack as claimed by the reports.
“Nothing of such occurred in Zamfara State,” Mr. Alkali said. “Not in Gusau (the capital) and not anywhere within the state.”
The report was published in a newspaper (not PREMIUM TIMES) and a blog on Thursday, before spreading to social media to the consternation of users.
The outlets relied on the account of a Facebook user who identified himself as Waziri Mohammed. The user, whose profile shows he had links with the National Emergency Management Agency, said the purported killing occurred last Saturday, slamming the media for failing to report it.
He also used the false announcement to argue that herdsmen attacks are not restricted to the North-central and southern parts of the country.
But Mr. Alkali insisted that, contrary to what the picture depicted, no attack of such scale occurred in Zamfara.
“Kindly believe that the report is part of fake news that has been growing on the Internet,” Mr. Alkali said. “Media professionals like you should always inform the public on what is true and what is clearly mischievous and only intended to cause violence.”
Some of Mr. Mohammed’s Facebook friends who commented on the update said the picture was recirculated from the 2014 killing of schoolboys by Boko Haram in Yobe State. But Mr. Mohammed did not counter their assertion, even as he continued with other activities on his page.
The February 25, 2014 overnight attack at Federal Government College, Buni Yadi, left at least 59 schoolboys dead, coming at the height of Boko Haram onslaught on Nigeria’s North-east.