Against the backdrop of attacks on personnel of the Nigerian Police Force and burning of several Police Stations during the Post EndSARS protests, the Inspector General of Police has directed Policemen to henceforth protect themselves if attacked.
“If anyone assaults you, you can protect yourselves. When we talk of human rights, the police are human and we have human rights too. Their lives should also be protected. We are sending the message that legally, we have the right to protect ourselves”.
Adamu made the statement at the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Police Command where he addressed the men as part of efforts to boost their morale in the wake of the #ENDSARS protests.
While urging Police personnel not to allow any amount of insults and provocation make them abandon their responsibilities of protecting lives and properties, he 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’.
Emphasizing that Policemen also have a right to life and should protect themselves, the IGP said, “If anybody touches you, If anybody comes to assault you, defend yourself. But can only do this if we are in danger or the situation is dangerous or one that is a threat to their lives.
He lauded the policemen for their professionalism and efforts to protect lives and property as well as maintain law and order during the #ENDSARS protests.
The IGP assured that adequate compensation will be made available to the families of all policemen that lost their lives during the protests.
He commended policemen for showing maximum restraint during the protests, even in the face of provocation saying the aim of the provocation and insults is to demoralise the police which has failed
Continuing, the IGP said the Federal Government is fully behind the police and will never accept not support any police officer losing his or her life.
He said the government is committed to a holistic reformation of the police, a reason the Police Trust Fund was established, and that going forward “everything a policeman needs to perform his duties will be provided.”
“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.
Earlier, FCT Police Commissioner, CP 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.
He said it was followed by a high wave of looting and vandalization of public infrastructure, warehouses and other private properties across the city adding that 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.
In the same vain, the IGP Adamu on Friday inaugurated a committee to assess the losses of lives and damages of structures and properties of the Nigeria Police nationwide.
The committee headed by CP Abutu Yaro is to report back in the next three weeks.
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.