ADDRESS BY IGP. MOHAMMED A. ADAMU, NPM, mni AT THE VIRTUAL CONFERENCE WITH SENIOR OFFICERS HELD ON 30TH OCTOBER 2020
I feel duty bound to address you all following the recent protests in parts of the country which undoubtedly put to test our resilience, professionalism and loyalty to the nation. This virtual Conference is intended to interact with you as strategic police commanders, take stock of the outcome of the protests, assess the current security situation and engage you on professional issues that are of concern to the Force leadership.
- Let me start by confirming that I have been receiving constant briefing from you on the security situation resulting from the widespread protests, and the commendable level of restraint and civility which you all demonstrated even in the face of grave provocation by misguided elements masquerading as genuine protesters.
- I am impressed with your level of compliance with my directives to respond to the crisis within the dictates of rule of law, democratic norms and global best practices. Never in the history of Nigeria have police officers that are engaged in anti-riot operations exhibited this much level of self-restraint and professionalism, especially in a civil disorder of this magnitude that was laced with excessively provocative conducts of the protesters. For this, I say with all sense of honour that I am very proud of you all and I thank you for your dedication to the values of your professional calling.
- I must, however note that for citizens that are advancing criminal intents and subversive agenda to infiltrate the ranks of genuine advocates of police reform, destroy and loot on a massive scale critical public and private properties, vandalise Nigeria Police assets that were built with tax payers’ money and through the collective sacrifice of the citizens is most unjustifiable. For these enemies of the State to also target police personnel for gruesome attacks is also not only deeply saddening but condemnable.
- From Ughelli, Delta State where the fake news that instigated the widespread protests originated, through to the other parts of the country, the narratives of the massive violence, looting, maiming and destruction of public and private properties and targeted attacks on police personnel in the most savagely manner that betrays our civilisation are the same.
- Criminals that have been threatening out commonly held values for peace and who, in furtherance of our mandate were brought to justice or are subject of on-going 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 neither 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, statistics collated between 11th October, 2020 when the ENDSARS protest assumed a national dimension and 27th October, 2020 indicate that fourteen (14) States recorded major violence leading to attacks on critical national security infrastructure and other corporate and private properties as well as injuries or fatalities to civilians, the police and other security agents. The States include Lagos, Edo, Delta, Oyo, Kano, Plateau, Osun, Ondo, Ogun, Rivers, Abia, Imo, and Ekiti States and the FCT. In total, seventy-one (71) public warehouses and two hundred and forty-eight (248) privately owned stores were looted in the course of the protests nationwide.
- A total of fifty-one (51) civilian fatalities and thirty-seven (37) civilian injuries have been recorded, while a total of twenty-two (22) policemen were gruesomely murdered with twenty-six (26) others injured by the protesters. Furthermore, two hundred and five (205) critical national security assets, corporate facilities and private property were attacked, burnt or vandalized. So far, a total of ten (10) firearms including eight (8) AK 47 rifles carted away during the attack on Police Stations, and a locally made pistol have been recovered from elements operating under the guise of the ENDSARS protesters.
- In addition, one thousand, five hundred and ninety-six (1,596) suspects have so far been arrested in connection with the violence and widespread looting by the protesters across the country. The breakdown shows that five hundred and twenty (520) suspects were arrested in Lagos; three hundred and sixty-seven (367) in Plateau State; two hundred and ten (210) in the FCT and one hundred and forty-two (142) in Kwara State. Similarly, eighty-two (82) suspects were apprehended in Osun State; sixty (60) in Adamawa State and thirty-six (36) in Kano and Ogun States respectively. Thirty-three (33) suspects were arrested in Edo State; twenty (20) each in Kaduna and Akwa Ibom States; fifteen (15) in Abia and Delta States and thirteen (13) in Oyo and Ekiti States respectively. Furthermore, ten (10) suspects were arrested in Rivers State and four (4) in Ondo State. Out of these figures, not less than one thousand, one hundred and seventeen (1,117) have been charged to court across the country.
- I wish to encourage our officers and men never to be demoralized by recent events particularly as they relate to the targeted attacks on police personnel and facilities. You should rather draw inspiration from the motivating words of Mr. President who in a speech delivered during the launch of the Presidential Youths Empowerment Scheme (P-YES) at the State House on Monday 12th October, 2020 duly acknowledged that ‘the vast majority of men and women of the Nigeria Police Force are patriotic and committed to protecting the lives and livelihoods of Nigerians and we will continue to support them to do their jobs’. I must tell you this. Nigerians desirous of peace, security and development should not vilify their Police Force and those desirous of an efficient Police Force must of necessity, protect and motivate police officers as exhibited by Mr. President in order to give them the courage and legitimacy to serve and protect them.
- As noted by a world leader, ‘anti-police sentiment is wrong and it’s dangerous’ and nobody should encourage violent assaults on those charged with protecting the citizens and who in the course of their service are often exposed to risks which sometimes result in laying down their lives in their quest to safeguard the values of the nation. This is more so that there is no government in the history of this nation that has shown commitment to reforming the Nigeria Police Force like the current leadership of the country under President Muhammadu Buhari, the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
- This is evidenced by the fact that under His Excellency’s presidency, approval was given for the adjustment of Police Salary in 2018 and just last week, Mr. President announced in the address to nation on the ENDSARS protests that directives had been given to the Revenue Mobilisation and Allocation and Fiscal Commission to speed up the process of approving a new, enhanced salary structure for the Nigeria Police.
- Furthermore, the Police Trust Fund Bill which had been in the National Assembly for over ten years and which will provide a special funding regime for the Nigeria Police was passed and timeously assented to by Mr. President. In addition, Mr. President approved the recruitment of 40,000 additional junior cadre Police personnel to address our manpower gaps.
- Furthermore, Mr. President approved the re-organisation of the Force leading to the upgrading of the Force Intelligence Bureau into a full-fledged Department headed by a Deputy Inspector General of Police. The reform also involved the creation of 5 additional Zonal Police Commands and two additional Annex Offices of the Force Criminal Investigation Department in Enugu and Gombe States. These reforms are aimed at decentralizing Policing functions in line with the principle of community policing, and in entrenching the intelligence-led policing strategy into our operations.
- As part of the initiatives directed at enhancing the post-retirement welfare of police officers, Mr. President has approved the ‘Police Retirees NHIS Scheme’. The approval covers the re-enrolment of sixty-six thousand (60,000) retired police officers on the National Health Insurance Scheme. Until this approval all retiring police officers were delisted from the NHIS and left to struggle to address their health needs in retirement. This Scheme, for which the Federal Government has released one billion naira (=N=1b) shall go a long way in enhancing the welfare of police officers who have served the nation patriotically with some retiring with health conditions that were occasioned by their service to the nation.
- Mr. President has also approved the adoption of Community Policing as the national policing strategy of the country and also assented to the Nigeria Police Act 2020 which does not only legitimize community policing, but also introduced innovative clauses that are directed at reforming the Police and addressing administrative, welfare and operational gaps that have historically, been inhibiting our capacity for optimal police service delivery.
- Aside this, Mr. President has continually encouraged the promotion of police personnel as at when due and as part of the welfare agenda and reward incentives of the Federal Government. In line with this between January 2019 to date, a total of forty-one thousand, eight hundred and sixty-three (41,863) Officer and Men of the Force have been promoted on merit and seniority. I assure you that more promotions are in the pipeline and I shall sustain this policy in appreciation of your dedication to duty.
- My dear officers and men, my message to you today is that the elements behind the recent violence see you as the gatekeepers to our democracy and the most visible symbol of state’s legitimacy which must as a strategy be attacked to discredit the government and weaken civil resistance to their unpatriotic plot. This is why the reform agenda of the Force as being implemented by the Federal Government remains unappreciated by the subversive elements that infiltrated the ENDSARS protesters.
- Do not be demoralized. I encourage you all as strategic police managers from whom your subordinates draw inspiration from, to appreciate that service to the nation goes with a price. Loyalty to your professional calling also comes with a huge price. However, no price could be too much to pay for our beloved country, for as the Mr. President once said years back, we have no other country to call ours aside Nigeria.
- The fact that some well-meaning youths assembled to call for reform and better welfare for the police and the fact that the Federal Government has been prioritizing issues that concern the Police should be a clear testimony to the fact that you are deeply appreciated by cross section of the country who have genuine intention to advance your interests.
- However, the fact that your dignity, rights, and safety were trampled upon during the protests should also be a painful reminder of the high risks associated with our profession and the price we have to pay as a Police officers. Rather than being demotivated, recent events should ginger you all to commit to your sacred obligations knowing that the wish of the enemies of the country who are the masterminds of this violence is to dampen your spirits and destabilse our beloved nation. We should put them to shame by making a bold and clear statement right now that an average Nigerian police officer is resilient and committed to sacrificing for the good of the citizens and the nation. On my part, I assure you that I will continually advance your interests and provide you the requisite leadership that will give you the courage to perform your duties without any form of molestation.
- I thank His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari for the support and motivation for the Force always. I am also immensely appreciative of His Excellency, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, the Vice President and their Excellencies, the Governors of the States who have made commitments to assisting the Police in the rebuilding and re-equipment process.
- I also want to assure the citizens of this nation to wary of the destructive impact of fake news and misinformation. They should remain assured of our willingness and capacity to continue to safeguard their rights and guarantee their safety in spite of recent events. It should be appreciated that policing is a bond between the citizens and their police and the strength of this bond impacts on our common wish for a safer nation. In this regard, I implore all citizens to cooperate with us to advance our internal security interests.
- I thank you all for remaining loyal and dedicated even in the face of recent daunting challenges and I charge you all to take this message back to your personnel and encourage them to return with confidence to their duty posts and be determined to re-dedicate themselves to our mandates knowing that the Force leadership, well-meaning citizens of this country and the Governments at all levels are all solidly behind us all.
- Thank you for your attention and may Allah’s (SWT) continuous protection and favour be upon you and your families as you commit to sacrificing for the peace and security of our beloved nation (Amen).