The Nigeria police continued their schemes to cover up the desertion of at least 167 officers on Friday, dismissing own internal documents to claim that none of the officers was dismissed as reported by PREMIUM TIMES.
PREMIUM TIMES broke the news on Wednesday that 167 officers were declared wanted after being accused of absconding from a counter-insurgency training exercise in Yobe State last week.
A follow-up story on Thursday night detailed how 121 of the 167 identified officers were dismissed by Inspector-General Ibrahim Idris.
Both stories were based on signals and other internal police documents that were independently authenticated by multiple police chiefs at the top of the command, and PREMIUM TIMES stands by both the documents and its entire reporting of the desertion affair.
The Force Headquarters has scrambled to contain the fallout from the disclosure that mobile police officers absconded from the Nigerian Army Special Forces Training School, Buni Yadi, to avoid being deployed in active combat against Boko Haram, and PREMIUM TIMES appears not to be the only entity the police have taken on in the process.
On Thursday morning, police spokesperson Jimoh Moshood pointedly dismissed the account of the Nigerian Army on the incident during an appearance on Channels Television.
The Nigeria Army chief in charge of the police deployment against Boko Haram, A.S. Ishaq, had stated that some police officers left the training facility without permission.
Mr Ishaq said some of the police officers were apprehended about 60 kilometres away in Damaturu, the Yobe State capital, according to PRNigeria, a public relations platform for security and other government agencies.
Read the police's full denial to the PREMIUM TIMES story on the firing of 121 officers below:
RE: POLICE DISMISS 121 OFFICERS FOR ABSCONDING FROM DEPLOYMENT AGAINST BOKO HARAM (FULL LIST)
· No Police Officer was dismissed by the Force among the 2000 Police personnel deployed to the North East. · It is purely a fake news that 'the Police dismissed 121 officers for absconding from deployment against Boko Haram'
The attention of the Nigeria Police Force has been drawn to a story published by Premium Times Online media on 27thDecember, 2018 captioned "POLICE DISMISS 121 OFFICERS FOR ABSCONDING FROM DEPLOYMENT AGAINST BOKO HARAM (FULL LIST)" credited to one Samuel Ogundipe attaching a forged counterfeit list of 121 Police officers purportedly dismissed from the service of the Nigeria Police Force.
2. The Force is categorically stating that the story in its entirety is a fake news and not credible, and should be disregarded and discountenance by the public. No Police officer has been dismissed among the 2000 Police Mobile Force (PMF) personnel deployed to the North East.
3. Police officers and men found wanting in any way in the discharge of their statutory duties go through internal disciplinary procedures and if found guilty are either dismissed from the Force or given commensurate punishment(s). In this case, no officer was tried in orderly trial for any offence (disciplinary or otherwise) that will warrant dismissal from the Force and none was dismissed.
4. The writer of the story ignorantly and for mischievous reasons relied on forged counterfeit documents which did not emanate from the Force as the basis for his story. It is a crime under the penal and criminal code laws to tell falsehood with intent to mislead the public to acts that can cause disturbance of public peace and public disobedience.
5. For avoidance of doubt, the Inspector General of Police did not order the dismissal of 121 police officers as claimed by the Premium Times reporter (Samuel Ogundipe). The story is evidently the characteristics mindset and pattern of the writer to deride and castigate public institutions, such as the Nigeria Police Force without any fact whatsoever.
6. The pronouncement of dismissal of Police officers from the Force to the public is the responsibility of the Force Public Relations Officer and not that of the writer of the story.
7. It would be recalled that on the 26thDecember, 2018, the Force debunked a fake and misleading report from premium times online publication that 167 out the 2000 additional Police Officers recently deployed by the IGP to the North East absconded and the attached list of personnel and the police signal were discovered to be forged documents.
8. The Force therefore, implores the public to be aware that the story is ill-motive, orchestrated to puncture the morale of officers and men of the Force engaged in the fight against insurgency in the North East and other Police personnel carrying out core Police duties to protect lives and property of all Nigerians across the Country, and this should be condemned by all.
9. The Force will no longer tolerate or condone deliberate mischief and reckless publications aimed at defaming and derogating the integrity of the service from any individual(s) or group(s). The full weight of the law will be applied to protect the image of the service.
10. The Nigeria Police Force is assuring the Media of a continuous cooperation in guaranteeing public safety and security across the Country, however, it is important for Premium Times Online Publishers to consider National Security and public interest as paramount above sensational publications.
Ag. DCP JIMOH MOSHOOD FORCE PUBLIC RELATIONS OFFICER FORCE HEADQUARTERS