On Tuesday, December 1, 2020, the official Twitter account of the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) got into trouble–for the umpteenth time–with the social media police.
The police force’s Twitter account @PoliceNG had shared a photo of crime suspects, with an array of weapons and bullets adroitly placed on a table for effect.
The photo was captioned: “L-R: Duleji Alhaji Abubakar a.k.a Ori jeje and Talatu Ibrahim from whom six (6) AK49 rifles were recovered.”
It wasn’t long before eagle-eyed and tech savvy social media users labelled the picture as photoshopped and one more attempt by a dodgy police force to deceive the public and frame up innocent persons.
To ‘photoshop’ is to digitally alter a photographic image, using photoshop image-editing software.
“Dear world, the official Twitter handle of our National Police Force posted a photoshopped picture to parade supposed criminals. Once again, how do you solve the crime scene called Nigeria?” wrote @The_New_Mind.
“What’s the motive behind this photoshopped image?” @Omojuwa wrote above the post.
For @Chydee, “If you’re not worried that the Nigerian police is posting photoshopped images, I don’t know for you o. That means they have taken their business of criminally framing people for crimes they did not commit to the next level. I. Am. Terrified.
“Also, besides the fact that these animals can frame you for whatever, and it’ll be their word against yours, look at the horrendous photoshop skill that someone that works at this level has. In case you’re wondering the quality of people in the force. Morons.”
“And the tweet is still there, 20hrs later,” wrote BBC population correspondent, Stephanie Hegarty.
Police defends itself
The police force has now explained that the pictures were not falsified, but “were taken separately and merged into one screen for seamless understanding of the story line.”
The force added in the statement that “one of the suspects, Alhaji Hudu Musa a.k.a Mai Cellular, had already been taken out for investigation purposes at the time the group picture was taken on 1st December, 2020, a day after the public parade of the suspects.
“His picture was therefore taken separately and merged with the three others in the group picture for presentation purpose and to enable readers and viewers have a one-stop glance of the suspects in the story for easy follow-up and understanding.
“It is imperative to state that editing photographs only becomes unethical or condemnable if the purpose is to create non-existing facts, misrepresent the facts or engage in outright falsification of the images or figures for purposes of deception or other ulterior goals.
“None of these was the case in the above two scenarios.
“The Force therefore enjoins members of the public to discountenance reports and comments that the images were falsified.”
The trust deficit between the police and the populace is at an all time high following decades of police brutality, extra-judicial killings and extortion by police officers.
How good are your photo-editing skills? Do you consider the picture(s) photoshopped?