Against the backdrop of attacks on personnel of the Nigerian Police Force and burning of several Police Stations during the Post EndSARS protests, Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Mohammed Adamu, has urged policemen to protect themselves if they are assaulted.
Adamu said this at the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Police Command on Friday where he addressed the men as part of efforts to boost their morale in the wake of violence and destruction that trailed the #ENDSARS protests.
He also said no amount of insults and provocation would make the police abandon their responsibilities of protecting lives and properties.
The IGP said policemen were also human and have a right to life and should protect themselves if they are 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 maintain law and order during the #ENDSARS protests.
He said adequate compensation will be made available to the families of all policemen that lost their lives during the protests.
He said the policemen showed maximum restraint during the protests, even in the face of provocation.
He said the aim of the provocation and insults is to demoralise the police.
“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 said.
He 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, 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.
“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,” he said 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.
IGP Adamu later inaugurated a committee to assess the loss of lives and damages of structures and properties of the Nigeria Police nationwide.
The committeee headed by CP Abuto Yaro, is to report back in the next three weeks.