Palpable fear, on Thursday afternoon, enveloped Abeokuta metropolis, the Ogun State capital, following a rumour of invasion of the city by the Boko Haram insurgents.
The rumour, which filtered in around 12: 30pm, caused serious apprehension, forcing parents to start withdrawing their children from schools located at the Fulani community in Roundabout-Soyo’ye area, as well as in Obada Oko/Oke-Ata axis of the metropolis.
LEADERSHIP gathered that withdrawal of the school children by their parents followed the rumour that unspecified number of gunmen, suspected to be fleeing members of the Boko Haram terrorists had attacked one of the schools at Rounderabout area, where unspecified number of students were killed.
The rumour spread round the town, thereby compelling parents, community leaders and other stakeholders in the security architecture of the state to rise in search of the alleged intruders, who never existed.
Several telephone calls made across to LEADERSHIP in the state, also compelled our correspondent to visit site of the alleged attack at Rounderabout area of Abeokuta metropolis.
Chairman of the Miyetti Allah in the state, Alhaji Abubakar Ibrahim Dende, who spoke to LEADERSHIP over the matter, however, dispelled the rumour, stressing that the fake alarm was the handiwork of miscreants and other streets urchins, who wanted to cause pandemonium in the state so as to have access to loot shops when traders must have hurriedly abandoned their wares and run away.
When contacted, the Ogun State Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Abimbola Oyeyemi, also dismissed the rumour, stressing that the command’s Situation Reports (SITREP) unambiguously indicated peace within the Abeokuta metropolis and across the state generally.
Meanwhile, in a swift reaction to the rumour, the PPRO in a statement, warned those behind such false alarm to desist, disclosing that the tactical teams of the command have been activated to go after them and bring them to book.
“Raising false alarm to cause panic in the mind of general public is criminal and such barbaric act will no longer be tolerated.
“Having heard the false alarm, the commissioner of police, CP Lanre Bankole, quickly deployed some officers and men of the command to the area only to find out that nothing of such is happening anywhere around the mentioned places”.
“The command is therefore appealing to members of the public to discountenance the false information as nothing of such is happening anywhere in Ogun state. Our people should therefore go about their lawful businesses without the fear of any form of harassment or intimidation,” he stated.