Policemen killings: IGP begins commands’ tour, Force admits cops’ morale low

By AdvocateNews on 30/10/2020

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Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu
Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu

• 28 officers killed in Lagos, Abia, Rivers, Oyo, Anambra, four states in one week

• We won’t return to duty, respond to distress calls, aggrieved policemen threaten

The Inspector-General of Police, Mr Mohammed Adamu, will on Friday begin visits to the police commands across the country to boost the morale of officers and men of the Nigeria Police Force.

It was gathered that the morale of members of the force was low following the killing of no fewer than 28  policemen by hoodlums, who hijacked the #EndSARS protests that started in the country on October 8 and lasted for two weeks.

Findings showed that the police authorities were disturbed by the high level of dejection among policemen, hence the need for the IG to encourage them and boost their morale.

It was also learnt during the tour, the IG would assess the level of damage done by the hoodlums, who burnt police stations and looted government and private property.

These came to the fore on Thursday as many policemen, in separate interviews with The PUNCH,  said they would not resume until government addressed the killing of their colleagues during the #EndSARS protests.

Following the shooting of peaceful #EndSARS protesters at Lekki, Lagos on October 20, hoodlums in states such as Lagos,  Edo, Abia and Rivers looted and burnt police stations.

On Thursday, a top police officer said the police authorities were concerned about the low morale in the force following attacks on police stations and killing of policemen.

“The tour by the IG, which is starting in Abuja, is aimed at raising the morale of officers and men of the force many of whom are not happy that the police were blamed for almost all the problems of the country during the protests despite the fact that all sectors have their bad eggs.

“We are not happy with the atrocities of SARS and other bad eggs in the force, but we are sad about the violent dimension the protest took. Many of those people killed were not hoodlums. Also, we lost fine officers and men, who were not found wanting on their duties. Our policemen are not happy that Nigerians are not concerned about the killing of policemen.”

The Deputy Force spokesman, Adeniran Aremu, said that the IG would on Friday (today) embark on an assessment of the security situation in Abuja.

Aremu disclosed in an SMS on Thursday that the IG would carry out an on-the-spot assessment of facilities and property destroyed by the hoodlums in Abuja, the nation’s capital.

“You’re invited to cover the on-the-spot assessment of security situation and some critical facilities in Abuja by the IGP,”  he said in an invitation sent to one of our correspondents.

Over 600 hooligans said to have participated in the looting of COVID-19 palliatives at various warehouses at Jabi-Daki-biu, Idu Industrial Estate and Karimo, Abuja, and in other states have been arrested and arraigned.

During the tour, Adamu is expected to address men and officers of the Federal Capital Territory Police Command and encourage them against despondency.

But some members of the Nigeria Police have threatened not to respond to distress calls or enforce law and order across the country until the murder of their colleagues by suspected hoodlums was addressed by the authorities.

Some of the cops,  who had been away from their duty posts for the last five days, accused the Federal Government and the police authorities of not caring about their safety and well being.

Senior officers,  who spoke in separate interviews with one of our correspondents on Thursday, complained about the high number of their colleagues that were killed during the #EndSARS protests and the failure of the government and Nigerians to condemn the incident.

Reports said no fewer than 28 policemen were confirmed killed within one week in Lagos, Ogun, Oyo, Anambra, Ebonyi, Ondo, Delta, Abia and Rivers states.

Over 30 police stations and posts were also razed during the attack on the men of the force by thugs who hijacked the #EndSARS protests.

Investigations revealed that policemen had been absent from the roads, street junctions, black spots and other strategic points for the past five days despite a directive by the IG.

Following widespread looting and arson by suspected hoodlums, the IG on Saturday ordered police commanders to immediately stop the anarchy across the country.

Adamu directed the immediate mobilisation of all police operational assets and resources to bring an end to the wanton violence, killings, looting and destruction of public and private property, and reclaim the public space from criminal elements.

According to a statement by the Force spokesman, Frank Mba,  the IG gave the order to all assistant inspectors-general of police, commissioners of police, heads of police operational units, squadron and base commanders in charge of zonal/state/FCT commands, the Police Mobile Force, Counter-Terrorism Unit and the Special Protection Unit, on October 24, 2020.

But almost one week after the order, most police officers and men have failed to resume for duty while only a few were seen on the roads.

Riot policemen, who were ordered to stop the looting by hoodlums, also did not show up during several incidents across the country. The military authorities had deployed soldiers to bridge the security gap following the refusal of the Mobile Police Force squadrons to respond to the attacks on private and public property.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, an Assistant Superintendent of Police,  said they had been advised to go about their duty “with discretion because our safety and security is not guaranteed.”

The officer noted that rank and file cadres were disappointed in the police authorities for keeping mute over the killing of policemen across the country, noting that they had not demonstrated good leadership.

He said, “An officer was beheaded in Anambra State and his body roasted and the video shared on social media. Nobody is talking about this. So, we don’t feel safe and would not obey any directive until the issue of our security is addressed by the police authorities and the government.”

Posted 30/10/2020 12:30:35 PM

 

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