IGP to Police Officers: Defend Yourselves Against Any Attack
The death toll nationwide from the violence that erupted during the #EndSARS protests has now been revised to 73, with 22 of them policemen.
The Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, who gave the latest statistics on fatalities in Abuja yesterday, also directed his officers and men to henceforth sturdily defend themselves if attacked by hoodlums again.
The protests against the now-dissolved police Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), metamorphosed into days of killings and looting across the country.
Unveiling the gory statistics during a virtual meeting with commissioners of police in the 36 states and FCT, the IG also disclosed that 71 public warehouses and 248 privately owned stores were looted in the course of the protests in 13 states and the FCT.
The states are Lagos, Edo, Delta, Oyo, Kano, Plateau, Osun, Ondo, Ogun, Rivers, Abia, Imo, and Ekiti states, as well as FCT.
The statistics were collated between October 11, 2020 when the #EndSARS protest assumed a national dimension and October, 27, 2020.
According to the IG, the affected states recorded major violence leading to attacks on critical national security infrastructure and other corporate and private properties as well as injuries or fatalities to civilians, the police and other security agents.
Adamu said 205 critical national security assets, corporate facilities and private property were attacked, burnt or vandalised.
“So far, a total of 10 firearms including eight AK 47 rifles stolen during the attack on police stations and a locally made pistol have been recovered from elements operating under the guise of the #EndSARS protesters”, he said.
In addition, 1,596 suspects were arrested in connection with the violence and widespread looting by hoodlums, who hijacked the protests across the country.
The breakdown shows that 520 suspects were arrested in Lagos, 367 in Plateau State, 210 in the FCT and 142 in Kwara State.
Similarly, 82 suspects were apprehended in Osun State, 60 in Adamawa State and 36 in Kano and Ogun states respectively.
He said 33 suspects were arrested in Edo State, 20 each in Kaduna and Akwa Ibom states, 15 in Abia and Delta states and 13 in Oyo and Ekiti states respectively.
Furthermore, 10 suspects were arrested in Rivers State and four in Ondo State.
“Out of these figures, not less than 1,117 have been charged to court across the country”, Adamu said.
Meanwhile, IG Adamu yesterday asked all personnel of the force to protect themselves against attacks, saying his officers and men have the right to defend themselves in case of physical danger.
The IG, who spoke on the attacks on policemen during an assessment tour of the Federal Capital Territory Police Command, also encouraged the operatives, who had abandoned the streets in the past five days following the killing of over 22 policemen during the #EndSARS violence, to return to their beats.
Adamu alleged that the #EndSARS protesters were out to demoralise the personnel, adding that the government and the Nigeria Police Force would soon roll out packages for the families of the deceased officers.
He said: “The unity of this country lies in the support that is given to police officers because if you are demoralised, the tendency is for criminals to take over the public space, and the country is relying on us to make sure that the public space is not taken over by the criminals. So, no amount of provocation, no amount of insult would make us shy away from our responsibilities.
“Inasmuch as we are aware that the government is behind us; so, we would encourage you to keep performing your duties. We would encourage you to be professional, to be civic, but if anybody touches you, if anybody comes to assault you, you can also protect yourself.
“When we talk of human rights, the police are human; so, the rights of police officers would also be protected. So, we are sending the message that legally, we have the right to protect ourselves but while we are doing that, we make sure that until we are endangered.”
Follow us on Twitter at @thesignalng
Copyright 2020 SIGNAL. Permission to use portions of this article is granted provided appropriate credits are given to www.signalng.com and other relevant sources.