The Nigeria Police Force has advised residents not to panic over rumours being spread about a gang of criminals popularly called ‘One Million Boys’ in Lagos State, The PUNCH reports.
Speaking on Channels Television on Wednesday night, Deputy Inspector General in charge of South-West region, Babatunde Ogunyanwo, said though there have been reported cases of robbery, rape and assault in Lagos and Ogun States in the last few days, the Force does not differentiate or classify criminals.
According to him, a criminal is a criminal, regardless of the gang he or she belongs to.
The PUNCH reports that there have been increased cases of banditry in Lagos and Ogun amid the coronavirus lockdown ordered by the Federal Government to curb the cycle of transmission of the pandemic in the states – and by extension, the country.
The PUNCH also reports that residents of the two states have formed vigilance groups, making bonfires, while keeping watch over their communities all night long to prevent any attack from the One Million Boys group, amongst others.
But when asked about the operations of the ‘One Million Boys’ gang in the two states in the last few days, the DIG in charge of the region said, “I think we need to advise ourselves that Nigerians should not be apprehensive over rumours. A lot of these things are just based on rumours. We need people to confirm information before they start spreading rumours around.
“People just pass information based on hearsay and not actually confirming the incident. That is why we are trying to get everybody to know their DPOs.”
Ogunyanwo, who said over 200 arrests have been made in connection with the recent attacks, noted that the suspects would be charged to court.
He, however, said that the rate of banditry in the two states during the lockdown is “not in the magnitude that the nation is being made to believe”.
“We have a few cases and a few arrests made. In Ogun State and Lagos State, of late, we have over 200 arrests and they will be charged to court
“The problem we are having is getting the Correctional Service to take them in should they be remanded, because we must reason with them now that whatever is happening now is not part of their budget and the government will have to look into that direction to see how they are going to give them intervention to take care of the medical facilities that the inmates will require,” he explained.
He said though some of the suspects were cultists arrested with cutlasses, charms, axes at ungodly hours but he had no idea of the One Million Boys gang.
“I don’t know about One Million Gang but you know Nigerians can always create names for a group of people but anybody who is running foul is a criminal. I don’t know what society means by One Million Gang.
“I don’t know whether they have been able to do a population censor to know that this gang is up to one million. What I know is a rapist is a rapist; it does not matter what name you are called.
“We don’t discriminate or differentiate. What I know is that if you have been arrested for having committed a crime, you will be arraigned in line with the law of the land and what was proven against you,” he said.