The Inspector General of Police (I-G), Mr Mohammed Adamu, has commended officers and men of the force over their resilience and professionalism during the EndSARS protest that resulted to violence in most parts of the country.
Adamu gave the commendation on Friday in Abuja during a visit to the Police Command in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) to assess the level of damage during the EndSARS protest in the territory.
He said that the visit was to commensurate with the officers and men of the command over the protest that led to loss of lives and property.
According to him, I have seen how you went out to deal with very difficult situation in trying to maintain peace, law and order in the FCT during the protest.
He said that during the protest, some roads were blocked, some vehicles were burnt, and police stations in some part of the country including FCT were burnt with police officers assaulted.
The I-G said the destruction and other criminal activities were done because the protesters were waiting for the police to react.
“I know how you went about protecting the protesters so that they will not be molested, but along the line, the protesters attacked, not only members of the public but also police officers
“These are criminal activities by the protesters wanting to provoke police personnel to use maximum force against them to justifying police brutality.
“But, with your resilience and professionalism, you were able to show maximum restrain and meet up with the standard that is required in curbing protest without using force,” he said.
He said that the resilience and professionalism demonstrated by the officers had exposed the way Nigeria Police officers, especially those in FCT, were professionally trained to deal with unrest in the country.
According to him, we are here to tell you that government is concerned with what happened during the protest and is solidly behind the police.
He said that the Federal Government was relying on the police to ensure that the public space was not taken over by criminals.
“So, no amount of provocation and insult will make us shy away from our responsibilities.
“In as much as we are aware that the government is behind us, we will encourage you to continue to be professional and civic in performing your duties.
“But if anybody touches or assault you, you can also protect yourself because when we talk of human right, the police are human, so the rights of police officers should also be protected.
“We are sending the message that legally, we have the right to protect ourselves,” he said.
In his remark, the Commissioner of Police (CP) in charge of FCT, Mr Bala Ciroma, commended the I-G for the visit, adding that the command had arrested and arraigned 196 suspects in connection to the protest.
He said that 10 of the suspects had been convicted, one discharged, 73 granted bail and 112 remanded in the Correctional Service custody by six mobile courts in the territory.