By James Ade, Ibadan
The Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, yesterday said that the End- SARS protest was aimed at bringing down the government of President Muhammadu Buhari.
He also stated that the level of carnage witnessed in the twilight of the protests was aided by the spread of fake news on social media.
Adamu, who stated this in Akure, Ondo State capital, during his visit to the state command, frowned at the manner at which false information were churned out during the protest.
The IGP, who was in the state to access the level of destruction and attack on police facilities and personnel suffered during the EndSARS saga, maintained that the ultimate aim of those behind the protest was to illegally remove President Muhammadu Buhari from office. Adamu said: “The call for End SARS started since 2015 and the SARS has been reformed here and there, till they came up with the protest again.
“During previous administration, the issue was addressed, but Nigerians were not satisfied and we disbanded it. But despite this, they refused to leave the street, which means they have a different motive and the motive was not EndSARS, but to destabilise the government.
“When they were even protesting peacefully, we were following them and provided security for them to make sure they were not molested, but that did not satisfy the intent of the people that sponsored the protest.
“Their intent, I believe, was they wanted the police to use excessive force in disbanding the protest, but police showed restraint and did not do that and because we didn’t do that, they went to the next level of attacking police installations, police stations, police barracks, corporate facilities and individual businesses.”
He, however, said that, “the people that know the importance of law enforcement and police in the society agreed that there are bad elements within the police, but not everybody is bad.” While pleading with the police operatives to return to work, he advised the rank and file of the command to always be at alert to curb crimes and defend the public property against destruction and urged them to put the EndSARS incidents behind them.
Adamu also disclosed that President Buhari had approved salary increment for all policemen in the country, while he said the recent mass promotion of junior officers was to encourage them to do their job diligently.
“This is to show you that your job is very important. Without you coming out, there will be chaos in the country. Without you performing your duties, there will be problem.
Therefore, don’t be easily provoked” Earlier in his address, the state Commissioner of Police, Bolaji Salami, commended the police boss for the visit and as sured him that men of the state command would not relent in discharging their constitutional responsibilities of protecting lives and property.
Also speaking in Ibadan, Adamu, said that policemen were already working, with many of them operating in mufti among the populace.
The IGP said this at the Oyo State Police Command headquarters, Eleyele, Ibadan, in reaction to the complaints that hoodlums have taken over the control of many parts of the country, wreaking havoc with reckless abandon.
The event was part of his tour of states to assess the level of carnage the protesters had visited on the Police and their stations.
He used the occasion to boost the morale of the officers to do their jobs diligently and professionally to protect the populace, as well as, themselves.
Answering a reporter’s question on when the policemen would return to their duty posts, the IG said: “You could not have been here today if the police are not at their duty posts.
Security is the duty of every Nigerian. Everybody has role to play.
So, don’t wait until you see a policeman, soldier or immigration officer before you as civilian also play your role.
Every policeman that you see in uniform has his beat.
“Now, we have re-strategised in our reforms. We now have officers in the streets who are not in police uniform.
It is part of our reform process. So,my message to everybody is that we should be up and doing.
You don’t have to wait to see officers sitting down somewhere before you believe they are working.
Policemen are everywhere. If they are not there, believe me, there is no way you people could have been here today. It is because hoodlums know that policemen are around that they did not attack you on your way.
We are encouraging our men to do their job more courageously and efficiently”, the IGP stressed.
While boosting the morale of his men to rise up to the occasion, the police boss agreed that there are bad eggs among the police. He said the Force is being reformed to identify them to protect the country better.
“But the majority of police officers that are doing their job should not be vilified, molested or demoralized.
The Police management is behind you. President Mohammadu Buhari made a categorical statement saying that ‘a vast majority of Nigerian Police Force are patriotic and committed to protecting the lives and livelihood of Nigerians.
And we will continue to support them to do their job”, the IG emphasized.
He added: “My being here today is to let you know that every Nigerian has his constitutional right, including you. Therefore, you must protect your rights.
Nobody should trample upon your rights and go free so long as you are also protecting the rights of others.
In the course of doing your job, be courageous and in the course of it, if anything happens to you, we shall stand behind you. If you shy away from performing your duty, it means that the whole society will be in trouble. “You are licensed to carry arms.
Carrying arms is not for decoration.
While using it, you must, however, remember the conditions under which you must use firearms.
When there is violent riot, you can use firearms; when any criminal is running away from lawful custody, you can use firearms; for protection of public assets, you can use firearms; when your life is in danger and you need to protect yourself, you can use firearms. But you are not supposed to kill. You are to use your firearms to maim, so that you can restrain the person from causing more harm”, the IGP stressed.