#EndSARS: Police will never allow violent protests again, IGP vows

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The Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, vowed on Friday never to leave room for any violent protest in the country.

Adamu made the declaration during a meeting he had with the Commissioners of Police across the country in Abuja for a review of the recent #ENDSARS protests which became violent after it was hijacked by hoodlums.

At the meeting, the first physical one with the senior officers in months because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Adamu said the police would never allow any kind of violent protest again in any part of the country and are prepared to face anyone that attempts to disrupt the peace.

He made the declaration just as the Minister of Information and Culture, Minister Lai Mohammed, issued a statement criticising the Cable News Network (CNN) over its report on the protests, saying the American television station is now struggling to justify its inaccurate presentation.

Adamu, at his meeting with senior police officers, noted that criminals seized the opportunity provided by the EndSARS protests to get back at the police for bringing them to justice.

He said: “Criminals who have been threatening our commonly held values for peace and who, in furtherance of our mandate were brought to justice or are subject of ongoing police actions, saw an opportunity in the protests to take their revenge and attempt to weaken the foundation of policing in this country.

“These sets of people found partnership in the subversive elements whose agenda was not 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.

“In consequence of the violence that resulted from their actions, several lives of police personnel and other security agents and innocent civilians were lost and many injured. In addition, many public, corporate and private assets were burnt, vandalized or massively looted while several police facilities and operational assets were attacked.”

He commiserated with the families of the 38 officers who lost their lives during the protests and others who might have died or injured in the course of serving the nation as police officers.

“I assure you that the Nigeria Police will continue to support you, and the first act in this regard is the approval of special promotion for all officers affected by the EndSARS protest,” he said.

The IGP said the meeting was meant to review the general security situation in the country as the year winds down, evaluate the progress made and challenges experienced in relation to their policing mandate as well as project into the future as they advance internal security management responsibilities.

He added: “As the frontline internal security agency, the Nigeria Police has through the years been grappling with major and complex internal security situations, particularly the activities of terror elements, bandits, kidnappers, armed robbers, cultists, cyber criminals and other highly organised national and transnational criminals protests, as well as challenges brought about by the ENDSARS.

“As Commissioners of Police across the states of the federation and the FCT, you all practically experienced the consequences of the ENDSARS protest. Your experiences and the strategic approach to preventing and managing such civil unrests in future shall form part of our discussions in the course of this conference.

“I must note, however, that I am elated that with the leadership you provided in the field during the crisis, you were not only able to professionally handle the ENDSARS protesters, you also assisted the Force leadership in making giant strides in our drive to guarantee a stable security order in the country.”

He said with Christmas fast approaching, there is immediate need for the police chiefs to review their security architecture across their various commands and formations, and ensure the optimal deployment of personnel to cover all identified vulnerable areas towards ensuring a peaceful Yuletide.