From Paul Osuyi, Asaba

Delta State Police Command has denied the alleged murder of 14 persons and the kidnapping of 15 others by gunmen in Owa-Ekei, Ika North-East Local Government Area of the state.

In a viral video, the commander of Owa-Ekei vigilante, Mr. Benjamin Samuel, had claimed that a ring of kidnappers were tormenting the area, killing and kidnapping local dwellers.

But the police command has urged the public to disregard the claims as contained in the video, insisting that it was mere falsehood targeted to instil fear in the people.

In a statement by the Public Relations Officer of the command, SP Bright Edafe, said preliminary investigation of the claims revealed that the incidents of murder and kidnapping as narrated by Mr. Samuel were false.

Edafe said the vigilante commander was interrogated, and “it was established that he told these untrue stories based on what he was told without clarification which eventually misled members of the public and further instilled fear in the hearts of the good people of Delta State.

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“Though his claim regarding the kidnapping and murder of one of his members is true,  blowing it out of proportion by exaggerating the number is unacceptable.”

According to Edafe, the state Commissioner of Police, Abaniwonda Olufemi, “appealed to members of the public, particularly indigenes of Ika to remain calm, assuring that under his watch, the command would do everything possible to safeguard the lives and properties of all Deltans.

“He further added that he has tasked officers and men of the command to boost the security architecture of the state.

“Conclusively, the CP warns everyone who engages in circulating false stories capable of upsetting the security of the state, that the command will move against them and ensure that they are brought to book.

“Nonetheless, the public is urged to remain vigilant and to notify the police of any suspicious activity, person or movement in their environment.”