Outrage as Police IG Order Officers to Shoot Amidst New Wave of #EndSARS Protest
Reactions were yesterday divided on the directive by the Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, to policemen to use their firearms to defend themselves when their lives were in danger.
The IGP had issued the order at Ebonyi State Police Command headquarters, Abakaliki, in view of the recent #EndSARS protests and calls for a fresh campaign against the Special Anti-Robbery Squad, SARS.
While Ohanaeze Ndigbo, chairman of United Progressives Party, UPP, and Coalition of Democrats for Electoral Reforms, CODER, saw nothing wrong in the IGP’s directive to his men, Afenifere chieftain, Chief Ayo Adebanjo, Chief Supo Shonibare, Benue tribal leaders and Second Republic lawmaker, Junaid Mohammed, described the order as unfortunate, saying the police boss had given his men license to kill.
However, addressing officers and men of the police force, Adamu asked them to use maximum force to suppress any form of violent protests, following laid down rules of engagement. He called on Police officers not to be demoralized by the negative impact that trailed the #EndSARS protests, adding that police high command had put modalities in place to ensure improvement in the welfare of all serving and retired officers. Use your firearms — IGP He said: “When your life is danger, use your firearms. You are not meant to kill but to maim. Shoot the suspect on the leg, not on the heart.
“#EndSARS protests created a lot of problems for the Nigerian Police and the country. These protests came as a result of what many people have been yearning about. “The #EndSARS started as a result of fake news provided by the social media. There have been lots of reforms that are being put in place.
“The #EndSARS protests started from Delta, to Lagos and other parts of the country. The motive behind the protests was not #EndSARS but attack on government. Police provided them cover. Their aim was not peaceful protest as it turned violent a few days after.
The reason was to attack the police that can protect the citizens and corporate offices in the country. “Police has the capability to prevent loss of lives. We are meant to protect and not to destroy lives. It was through maximum restraint we saved the country from anarchy. We proved that during the protests, the police can be trusted. “Other sectors were attacked; police was not only the worse hit. Nigeria police will never again accept such type of violent protest. If you want to protest, we will provide security but it should be within the law.
“We shall suppress violent protests with maximum force and follow the rules of engagement. Police officers are special breed of Nigerians, specially trained. When your life is danger, use your firearms. You are meant to maim and not to kill that person “The officers that died did not die in vain. We have promoted them and looked into the issue of compensation. Welfare issues will be addressed, including myself. We have health insurance scheme.
“In January 2021, there will be renovation of barracks and new ones will be built. Let us not be demoralized. Follow the rules of engagement. Go out with the authority that backs you in line with the constitution
” Our losses, by Ebonyi, Anambra CPs In his welcome address, the Commissioner of Police, Ebonyi State Police Command, CP Philip Sule Maku stated that the Command lost four police officers, 11 police structures, a total of 20 vehicles, while 14 police officers sustained varying degrees of injury in the course of the #EndSARS’ protests in the country. The IGP gave a similar directive in Awka, Anambra State, vowing the the Police would never tolerate a repeat of violent protests in the country.
The Commissioner of Police in the state, Mr. John Abang, told the IGP that 19 personnel were victims of the protest, including four who lost their lives and 15 others that sustained injuries. “Twelve police formations were burnt and seven were vandalized. Two Armoured Personnel Carriers were damaged and 27 operational vehicles were vandalized,” he said.
Abang, however, assured the IGP that the Command was gradually recovering from the incident through the support of the state government and public-spirited individuals. Directive in order — Ohanaeze But reacting to the IGP’s order, Ohanaeze Ndigbo threw its weight behind the police boss, saying the directive was not new but a standing rule for the force.
Emeka Attamah, Special Adviser to Ohanaeze’s President-General, Chief Nnia Nwodo, said: “It’s a standing rule for any security outfit. Because you are keeping peace doesn’t mean you allow yourself to be killed. “Of course, if there is imminent threat of death, an officer has to defend himself. It is therefore advised that protesters don’t engage in riotous acts that can provoke the security operatives.”
Garba Shehu Bewaji, a former Minority Leader of the House of Representatives, said: “That kind of directive must be viewed in the context of what has transpired during the EndSARS protest when a number of policemen were killed. “That directive should not be taken in