Deji Adebayo, Abuja
The Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, has urged policemen in Nigeria to protect themselves against any form of assault.
Adamu said this on Friday at the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Police Command where he was addressing his men as part of efforts to boost their morale in the wake of violence and destruction that trailed the #ENDSARS protests.
The IGP said no amount of insults and provocation would make the police abandon their responsibilities of protecting lives and properties.
The IGP argued that policemen are human and also have right to life and should protect themselves should they be in any dangerous situation that is a threat to their lives.
He lauded the policemen for their professionalism and efforts to protect lives and property as well as maintaining law and order during the #EndSARS protests.
He reiterated that adequate compensation will be made available to the families of all policemen that lost their lives during the protests.
Adamu said; “If the police is demoralized, criminals will take over the public space and we will not let that happen. No amount of insults and provocation will make us shy away from our responsibilities.”
He believed that policemen showed maximum restraint during the protests, even in the face of provocation, noting that the aim of the provocation and insults is to demoralise the police force.
He therefore said, the Federal Government is fully behind the police and will never accept for any police officer to lose his or her life.
Adamu said the government is committed to a holistic reformation of the police force, which is one of the reason, Police Trust Fund was established, and that going forward “everything a policeman needs to perform his duties will be provided.”
In his words; “I am here to commiserate with you. I saw how you went to deal with the difficult situation in order to maintain peace and order. This happened because of the #ENDSARS protests, which was supposed to be peaceful but turned violent.
“Despite all the attacks by protesters you went about to protect them. It became dangerous even for even police officers. Individuals were attacked and vehicles and property, destroyed. I thank you for showing restraint. You acted professionally. The aim was to demoralise you but you were exceptional.
“For those that lost their lives all over the country during the #ENDSARS protests they will not die in vain. There will be adequate compensation for them in an extensive manner. They served the country at the expense of their lives.
“If anyone assaults you, you can protect yourselves. When we talk of human rights, the police are human. Their lives should also be protected. We are sending the message that legally, we have the right to protect ourselves,” his words in part.
He said the police will soon make public the package they have for officers that lost their lives during the protests.
FCT Police Commissioner, Bala Ciroma, said the Command experienced 16 major incidences resulting from violent clashes which erupted at Berger Roundabout, Apo-Kabusa, Kubwa and Dutse Alhaji, during the protests.
This, he said, was followed by a high wave of looting and vandalization of public infrastructure, warehouses and other private properties across the city.
He said these series of events led to the tragic loss of 10 lives and various degrees of injuries.
Ciroma said the Command has remained resolute in the discharge of its fundamental responsibility of protecting lives and property, but have challenges of operational vehicles, shortage of riot equipment and manpower.
He requested the IGP to oblige the Command additional operational vehicles, manpower and riot equipment to boost their operational capacity.
Adamu later inaugurated a committee to assess the loss of lives and damages of structures and properties of the Nigeria Police nationwide.
The committeee which is headed by a Commissioner of Police, Abuto Yaro, has three weeks to report back to the command.
Their terms of reference include physically visiting the scenes of the incident and capture the pictorials of damages done to police infrastructure and personnel; verification of fatalities suffered by the police; and establishing the weapons holdings lost during the incident among others.