By; BALA B. BITRUS, Minna
The Commissioner of Police in Niger State, Austin Iwero Agbonlahor has appealed to media practitioners in the country to be reasonably disposed in their reportage’ so as not to hurt and expose public safety, public health, public security and national pride to danger and ridicule.
Agbonlahon said media practitioners must appreciate their onerous task which he noted places them above sentiment and parochialism beyond ethnic, religious or social borders.
Speaking while addressing journalists and other stakeholders at the Police Officers’ Mess in Minna, the Police Commissioner said journalists must always be conscious of their unique position amongst the entire population and therefore avoid doing anything that could jeopardize the peace and stability of the country.
He therefore advised that media practitioners must cultivate the habit of cross checking their facts before going public with any information that could cause anxious moments for authorities and security agencies in the country.
Agbolahon was posted to the state in July this year as Commissioner of Police. He disclosed that the Police Command has since his assumption of office nabbed no fewer than 22 armed robbery suspects during different operations by men of his Command
Similarly, six suspected cattle thieves and five suspected kidnappers were arrested in parts of the state during sting operations. During the operations, 415 rustled cattle were recovered from the suspected herds rustlers.
Two assault rifles of AK 47 make were recovered including one locally made pistol and four live ammunitions from the criminals.
The Police Commissioner noted that the arrest of the suspects between July and September was a result of daring commitment to duties by men and officers of the state Police Command.
Police Commissioner Agbonlahor who was having his first interactive session with journalists in the state, revealed that new strategies have been evolved by the Command to make the state an unsafe place for criminally minded elements in the state.
The Police Commissioner declared that ”the Niger State Police Command under my supervision has evolved strategies that will continue to make this state a no-go area for criminals”.
While calling on media practitioners in Niger State to support the Police in the fight against crime and other forms of criminalities, he tasked Journalists to educate citizens on the need to be law abiding and to report suspected criminal hideouts to the Police.
Police Commissioner Agbolahon charged that all hands must be on deck to check crimes in all parts of the state.
He added that “criminals were not ghosts adding that they are human beings who live side-by-side with other law abiding citizens.
He said journalists and the Police must see themselves as partners in progress. He therefore solicited for the continued support of Journalists in the state by proffering the needed advice and assistance in enlightening the general public.
Chairman, Nigeria Union of Journalists, (NUJ), in the state, Mohammed Mohammed while responding, commended the Police in the state for appreciating the contributions of journalists in the fight against criminals.
He advised the new Police Commissioner to operate with an open door to allow free minded persons to give him advice.
The NUJ Chairman assured the Police Boss of Journalists’ preparedness to operate according to the ethics of the profession. He assured that Journalists in the state will always confirm reports before going to the press to avoid creating undue tension and chaos.