The Nigerian police command on Thursday, October 3rd said they arrested an Abuja based comedian, Augustine Valentine, popularly known as `MC Fine’, over alleged spread of fake news.
Biodun Makanjuola, Divisional Police Officer (DPO) of the force in Bwari, FCT, said Valentine posted a false report on facebook alleging the apprehension of a female kidnapper. “After investigation, we found the report to be fake,” he said.
The middle-aged woman, simply identified as Zulai, was attacked on Wednesday, around Zenith Bank area in Bwari, over the suspicion that she attempted to kidnap a two-year-old male child. The Police, who were quick to intervene, arrested the woman and, during investigation, found out that she was physically and psychologically unstable.
The DPO said while the investigation was going on, Valentine posted a misleading information on the incident, on the social media platform.
“When she was brought here, I asked my people to first take her to the General Hospital for medicals. They came back with a medical report indicating that she was suffering from depression.
The report also referred her to Karu Psychiatric Hospital for proper evaluation. Right now, we are preparing to take her there.
“We were still on the matter when I started receiving calls about a post on Facebook claiming that the woman was a kidnapper. The report claimed that her phone had message conversations on how many children to be kidnapped.
I made efforts and finally discovered who posted the story, brought him here for questioning, and he confessed he only added some of the details to add glamour to the story.”
The DPO, while expressing displeasure over the incident, cautioned against spreading unverified news, pointing out that such actions could cause negative impact on people involved and result into security breach in the affected community. “We are working with the affected families to douse the tension. This town can be volatile, so we are not taking anything for granted,” he said.
Valentine, who regretted his action, admitted that he was not at the scene of the incident when it occurred on Wednesday. According to him, the pictures and the alleged story were sent to him via Whatsapp, a social media platform, by an unknown number. He had earlier raised a fake alarm, through his Facebook account, that a woman was caught in Bwari attempting to steal a child who was playing with his mates around the Bwari market.
Valentine, on Facebook, claimed that “the crowd gathered, checked her phone which revealed how many children she was asked to provide by her accomplices”.