•Inspector General of Police: Those planning to come up with another violent protest should re-think; we are prepared to face them
Charles Ajunwa in Lagos and Kingsley Nwezeh in Abuja
The Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, yesterday met with command commissioners from the 36 states and Abuja, to review the security situation in the country and to strategise on how to respond to the threat of fresh EndSARS protests allegedly being planned by some of the conveners of the demonstrations that turned bloody last October.
Sources at the meeting told THISDAY last night that the threat of a new EndSARS protests dominated discussion, and that a number of proactive measures to tame the planned protest were agreed on.
“The IG gave firm instructions to the command commissioners to strictly implement decisions reached at the meeting on strategies to ensure that there is no repeat of violent protests in the country again and warned the command commissioners that they would be held accountable if such happens,” said the source.
Before IG Adamu went into the meeting with his command commissioners, he briefed the press and also took questions, during which he stated that the police were ready to combat any group attempting to cause a breakdown of law and order again.
He warned any group planning another round of protest to desist from such plan as the police high command would no longer tolerate violent protests, maintaining that the constitution abhors violent protests.
The IG said peaceful protests were allowed but insisted that the police remained prepared for planners of violent protests.
“We will never allow this type of #EndSARS protests again, it was violent. Peaceful protest is allowed in our constitution. When this process started peacefully, we provided security for them.
“We were moving with them to make sure they were not molested by any group of people and it was going on well until it turned violent.
“When it turned violent, they then attacked the people that were even giving them protection. So, we shall never allow any violent protest in this country again. When you talk of peaceful protests, yes, it is allowed but violent protests, never.
“Even our constitution does not accept violent protests, so, those people that are planning to come up with another protest, if they’ve planned it to be a violent one, they should re-think. We are prepared to face them.
“We are to protect this country from hoodlums. We’re to protect this country from violence, and we want every Nigerian to work with us to prevent what had happened as aftermath of the end of SARS in terms of destruction of public properties, and loss of lives. Businesses of individuals were crippled, and corporate institutions were destroyed.
The IG said the EndSARS protests were politically-motivated, while criminals under police investigation saw the protest as a revenge opportunity.
“Criminals that have been threatening our commonly held values for peace and who, in furtherance of our mandate were brought to justice or are subject of on-going police actions, saw an opportunity in the protests to take their revenge and attempt to weaken the foundation of policing in this country.
“These set of people found partnership in the subversive elements, whose agenda was neither propelled by genuine advocacy for police reform, but the galvanisation and instigation of unsuspecting citizens into an uprising that was directed at endangering our democracy for their parochial political agenda,” he said.
The IG called on well-meaning Nigerians to join hands with the police to prevent recurrence of violent protests.
He also called on well-meaning Nigerians to prevail on groups said to be planning the new rounds of protests to drop the idea.
Adamu further charged the commissioners of police to review operations in their commands ahead of the yuletide.
“With Christmas fast approaching, there is an immediate need for you to review your security architecture across your various commands and formations and ensure the optimal deployment of personnel to cover all identified vulnerable areas towards ensuring a peaceful yuletide.
“You are to prepare and submit your operation orders for Christmas to my office not later than Tuesday, 1st December, 2020,” he said.
On the jail break at the Edo State correctional facility, he said many prisoners, who escaped have been arrested while many cultists were also nabbed.
Adamu said: “We have made a lot of arrests of those people that escaped from prisons. Some were even arrested in Kano and Kaduna. When they escaped, some of them went back to their business of robbery.
“And the cultists, when they escaped, they went back to the business of cultism, especially in Edo. We’ve been able to arrest a significant number of them and we are still after those that are outside.
“We call on Nigerians, any information you have about escapees from any of the correctional centres, please inform us or any other security agencies, so that we can get them back to prison.”