The Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, has told the police to protect themselves when attacked.
The order came on Friday against the backdrop of the killing of 22 policemen and burning of 205 police stations and other security formations during the EndSARS riots across the country.
He stated this during a visit to the police command of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, to assess the level of damage during the EndSARS protest.
He commended officers and men of the force for their resilience and professionalism during the protest.
The IGP said the Federal Government was relying on the police to ensure that the public space was not taken over by criminals.
He said, “No amount of provocation and insult will make us shy away from our responsibilities. Inasmuch 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 assaults 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.
He said the visit was to commiserate with the officers and men of the command for the loss of lives and property during the protests.
“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.
The IGP said that during the protest, some roads were blocked; some vehicles were burnt and police stations in some parts of the country, including the FCT, were burnt with police officers assaulted. Adamu said the destruction and other criminal activities was done because the protesters were waiting for the police to react.
He said, “I know how you went about protecting the protesters so that they would 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 justify 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.”
The Commissioner of Police at the FCT, Mr Bala Ciroma, commended the IGP for the visit, adding that the command arrested and had arraigned 196 suspects in connection with the riot.
The IGP said 22 police personnel were killed and scores of others injured during the EndSARS protests in different locations across the country. The police chief stated this on the heels of a report by Amnesty International that police personnel shot at peaceful protesters during the rallies.
Adamu, in a statement by the Force Public Relations Officer, Mr Frank Mba, said that 205 police stations and formations, including other critical private and public infrastructure, were also damaged by a section of the protesters.
The IGP, who faulted the Amnesty International’s report, claimed that many of the personnel injured during the protests were in life-threatening conditions in hospitals.
He described the report as untrue, misleading and contrary to all available empirical evidence.
The statement reads in part: “Officers of the Nigeria Police Force acted professionally, exercised commendable restraints and some paid the supreme price for peace during the recent protests and ensuing violence in some parts of the country. “During the protests, officers of the Force used legitimate means to ensure that the protests were carried out in a peaceful manner and in most cases, physically protected and walked side-by-side with the protesters.
“Even when the protests turned violent in some parts of the country, the officers still maintained utmost restraint and did not use excessive force in managing the situations.
“Available reports show that twenty-two (22) police personnel were extra-judicially killed by some rampaging protesters and scores injured during the protests. Many of the injured personnel are in life-threatening conditions at the hospitals.
“Two hundred and five (205) police stations and formations, including other critical private and public infrastructure, were also damaged by a section of the protesters. Despite these unprovoked attacks, our police officers never resorted to use of unlawful force or shooting at the protesters as alleged in the report.”
Everything is the opposite yet Nigeria not a complete disaster – Soyinka
Nobel laureate, Prof Wole Soyinka, has said Nigerians are still managing to eke out a living despite the bleak realities confronting the country.
Soyinka spoke during an interview with the Cable News Network monitored by our correspondent.
Commenting on the ironic title for his first novel in 48 years, Chronicles from the Land of the Happiest People on Earth, he said things happened around one as one grew up, witnessing the degrading of dream and environment in one’s society and on the continent.
He explained that for him, the issue had been an arduous journey, adding, “It has reached such a stage, I found intuitively, that only prose fiction can handle things that have been bubbling up inside me.”
He said the title came after some people some years ago conducted a poll which placed Nigeria among the top four happiest nations in the world.
The playwright noted, “That thing has been with me, in my head. I asked, ‘Who are these people? What do they know? What have they seen? What have they experienced in Nigeria that they make such an attribution?’ That title really has been waiting to answer that claim in many ways. When you look at the surroundings, everything is the opposite and yet, Nigeria is not a complete disaster.
“People still manage to eke out a living not only a living but to some extent a dignified and satisfied living. I think it’s not surface appearance of contentment or making the best of a really bad job, insisting that no matter what life must go on… It’s that which needed to be, quote and unquote, celebrated in addition to the bleak actualities.”
The elder statesman further said he took the decision to change his former relationship if Donald Trump was elected president of the United States despite “being literally an enemy of decency and humanity’’ and his blatantly discontent for non-white humanity.
He stated, “I never really totally turned my back on the United States. I mean how could one? We have many Nigerians there, to start with. When I stroll through the streets of the United States, I sometimes think the United States is an extension of Nigeria, that it’s part of our diaspora.” That’s not an easy decision but it was inevitable.”
Commenting on the 2021 Nobel Prize in Literature awarded to Tanzanian novelist, Abdulrazak Gurnah, Soyinka said his immediate statement after the announcement was “let the African tribe expand wherever situated.”
Insecurity: Royal Navy Warship arrives in Lagos
The Royal Navyship, HMS TRENT has arrived Lagos State as part of its three months deployment to the Gulf of Guinea.
The HMS TRENT and her contingent of Royal Marines from 42 Commando are on a three-month deployment to the Gulf of Guinea.
Port of Lagos is the second stop for HMS TRENT since departing Gibraltar in October.
The Royal Navy War ship was recieved by the United Kingdom, UK, Deputy High Commissioner in Lagos, Ben Llewellyn-Jones, at a reception on Saturday.
According to Llewellyn-Jones: “Nigeria’s security and prosperity matters to the UK. The Royal Navy is here because the UK is a committed partner for Nigeria and the wider West African region.
“We will continue to work with the Nigerian authorities to address illegal activity; improve maritime security; counter-piracy and tackle the Illegal Wildlife Trade.
“To do this we will draw on the experience we have of cross and multi-agency co-operation in the UK to promote peace, development, and prosperity.”
The ship’s company of HMS Trent have a packed schedule of events, including various capability demonstrations and training, with 42 Commando delivering their specific Vessel Boarding, Search and Seizure training to the Nigerian Navy.
In addition, members of the ship’s company will also step ashore with a charity beach clean as well as attending the Maritime Security Conference at the Nigerian Institute of International Affairs (NIIA).
Also speaking, HMS Trent’s Commanding Officer, Commander Thomas Knott said: “As Trent made her way to the Gulf of Guinea my crew honed their skills in Maritime Security Operations and commenced Counter Illicit Activity Patrols.
“Piracy, Narcotics and broader criminal activities in this region demand that my Royal Navy Sailors and Royal Marine Commando Force are always ready to respond, from Boarding Operations through to lifesaving assistance at sea.”
Boarding exercises are vital integration training for the newly embarked Royal Marines, who joined at the start of HMS Trent’s patrol of the Gulf of Guinea.
42 Commando will perform a key role as part of the ship’s company of HMS Trent, training partner forces across the region and helping to develop their capabilities.
The three-month deployment will see the ship travel around the Gulf of Guinea, visiting countries including Ghana, Senegal, and Gambia.
Alongside their commitments to conduct joint exercises and train with partners in the region, HMS Trent will also conduct maritime security patrols and promote the UK’s position as co-president at the G7++ Friends of Gulf of Guinea conference in November.
FG considering posthumous pardon for Ken Saro-Wiwa, others – Buhari
President Muhammadu Buhari says the Federal Government is considering a state pardon for nine Ogoni leaders/activists convicted and hanged by the military dictatorship of General Sani Abacha 26 years ago for opposing the operating practices of the Royal Dutch Shell Oil Corporation.
The Ogoni Nine are author and playwright Ken Saro-Wiwa, Saturday Dobee, Nordu Eawo, Daniel Gbooko, Paul Levera, Felix Nuate, Baribor Bera, Barinem Kiobel and John Kpuine, They were executed on November 10, 1995.
Buhari gave the hint when he had an audience with some leaders and people of Ogoni land at the State House, according to a statement by Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina.
According to the President Buhari, despite the gravity of the circumstances, the Federal Government will consider the request to grant them pardon and bring closure to the case.
He said: “Furthermore, we are committed to ensuring clemency and national integration as part of this administration’s bid to lay the foundation for genuine reconciliation and bring closure to the issues of Ogoni Land.
“The unfortunate incidents of the early 1990s leading to the loss of lives of distinguished sons of Ogoni land and the collateral judicial processes are indelible in our memories.
“Despite the grievous circumstances, the Federal Government will consider the request for the grant of pardon to finally close the Ogoni saga,’’
President Buhari urged the Ogoni leaders to sensitize indigenes on value of protecting national assets like pipelines and other oil installations, saying willful damages usually create more havoc on their environment and hamper development in the area.
He also noted that the Federal Government is committed to the cleaning up of Ogoni land so that indigenes can regain their lives, return to farms and reactivate economic activities.
“You will need to educate the people of Ogoni land and the region more, that when pipelines are broken, the damage is more to the immediate environment and the people. The majority farmers and fishermen struggle because the fishes now move to the deep sea,’’ he said.
The President observed that bad industry practices coupled with security challenges had resulted in massive spills with attendant environmental degradation of Ogoni, leading to agitations and strife.
He said the government would bring to a close all pending issues on sons of Ogoni land.
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