THE Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, on Thursday, November 26, 2020, charged policemen not to be demoralised by the #EndSARS incident, saying that “despite what happened, the government of Nigeria is behind you at the highest level.”
Adamu gave the charge during a working tour to Oyo State Police Command in Ibadan, the state capital.
Officers who were part of the IGP’s visit included a Deputy Inspector General of Police, Leye Oyebade and the Force Public Relations Officer, DCP Frank Mba.
The IGP urged policemen not to be intimidated by criminals, adding that it is their duty to protect lives and property of Nigerians.
IGP Adamu, in his remarks, while speaking with police officers, went down memory lane on the incident that occurred in Ughelli, Delta State, which triggered the EndSARS protests.
He recalled the allegation that a police personnel shot a man, resulting in protest in the South South state, before its spread to Lagos and other states.
The IGP said that the Delta State incident had nothing to do with the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), describing it as fake news.
He said: “A local security outfit called ‘Operation Delta Safe’, comprising of the Army, police and other security agencies, were on routine patrol when they accosted two people.
“The two individuals had parked their vehicle in a suspicious manner and the security operatives wanted to check what was happening.
“One of them suddenly bolted, and in the process, fell.
“A passerby just recorded the scene and uploaded it on the social media, saying that SARS killed somebody.
“The Ughelli people started protesting, and it spread all over the nation.
“SARS was never involved. The person they were talking about never died. He is still alive and even made a public statement.
“The person who recorded the video apologised, though he was charged to court.
“But the protest was the effect of fake news, and the protesters started calling for the heads of SARS operatives.
“Police even gave the protesters protection, for them to go about their peaceful protests.”
Adamu, however, said when the protests agitating for the ban of SARS were growing, the police hierarchy looked at the clamour for the disbandment of SARS since 2015, and subsequently scrapped the unit.
He noted that SARS creation was initially inevitable, as it was needed to deal with specific type of crime, which was robbery.
“Subsequent administrations tried to reform it, so that it can be civil in its operations and be more professional.
“Still, complaints kept coming. So, this time, we dissolved it.
“We met the five demands of the EndSARS protesters, after deliberating with them, civil society organizations and other stakeholders.
“But that didn’t stop the protest, until hoodlums took advantage of the situation to cause violence and chaos.
“Police stations, barracks, and facilities were attacked. Not only that, corporate institutions and private businesses were attacked also.
“Civilians and police officers were killed,” he stated.
Saying that the actions of those who hijacked the protests were condemnable, Adamu advised Nigerians to take security as paramount.
He noted that bad eggs exist in all parts of the society, not only the police, adding that they need reformation to serve the society better.
The IGP, while boosting the morale of police officers and men, said some policies had been approved by the government, which would look into the welfare of personnel.
He mentioned health insurance for retired policemen, review of salaries, packages for families of slain personnel, among others, just as he charged policemen to return to “continue to do your work as you used to do.
“Do not be demoralised by what happened, because the Nigerian government, at the highest level, is behind you.”
Earlier, the state’s Commissioner of Police, Joe Nwachukwu Enwonwu, thanked the IGP for the visit, adding that it had boosted the morale of policemen in the state.
Enwonwu said the police in the state would continue to work hard to protect lives and property of residents.
According to the state police boss, the IGP’s visit to the state command was a morale booster, as police suffered quite a number of casualties, while there was destruction of lives and property when EndSARS protests engulf Nigeria.
Stating that officers and men of the Oyo police command remained totally committed to their constitutional roles, the police commissioner said that their energies had been redoubled to deliver quality services to the nation, through the visit of the IGP.
“It is our constitutional mandate, and we are not ready to relinquish it to anybody.
“…our drive to protect lives and property has been reinvigorated more than ever before.
“Our loyalty to you, the Nigeria Police and Nigeria as a nation remains unequivocal…,” Enwonwu told Adamu.
The IGP’s visit was also extended to Ondo and Ogun States.