By Benjamin Nworie
The Inspector General of Police (IG), Mr. Mohammed Adamu, yesterday advised the officers of the Ebonyi State Police Command to use their firearms whenever their lives are in danger.
The IG, who stated this at the command’s headquarters, Abakaliki, during when he embarked on a one-day working visit to the state, added that police officers were special breed of Nigerians charged with the responsibility of protecting lives and property of citizens of the country.
Adamu, who was not pleased with the number of deaths recorded by the police and the destruction of police stations during the last #EndSARS protests, stressed that such violent protests would never be allowed to happen again in the country.
He directed men and officers of the Nigerian Police to use maximum force to suppress any form of violent protests, following laid down rules of engagement.
He called on police officers not be demoralised following the negative impact that occasioned the #EndSARS protests as the police high command had put modalities in place to ensure improvement in the welfare of all serving and retired officers.
He said: “When your life is danger you, use your fire arm. 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. This protest came as a result of what many people have yearning about. “The #EndSARS started as a result of fake news provided by the social media. There have been lots of reforms has been putting 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 violence 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.
“The president supported the police and the governor’s forum, saying that we love our police. What happened because of attack on police, has the tendency for the police to be demoralised as banks, companies, private and public properties were destroyed.
“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, you use your firearm. 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 look 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 demoralised. Follow the rules of engagement. Go out with the authority that backs you in line with the constitution.”
In his welcome address, the state Commissioner of Police, Mr. Philip Sule Maku, stated that the command lost four police officers, 11 police structures, a total of 20 vehicles as 14 police officers sustained varying degrees of injury in the cause of the #EndSARS protests in the country.