Oluseye Ojo, Ibadan and Bamigbola Gbolagunte, Akure
The Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, yesterday said the violence that trailed the #EndSARS protest across Nigeria was caused by fake news.
He disclosed this when he addressed police officers at the headquarters of Oyo State Police Command, Eleyele, Ibadan, during his one-day inspection of the state.
Adamu, who said he was in the state based on what happened as a result of #EndSARS protests, noted that by now people “should be aware that #EndSARS protest started as a fake news and that the fake news spread all over the country, and it resulted in the protest. The fake news came out of Delta State and from Ughelli, specifically, when a local security outfit called Operation Delta Safe, comprising the military and other security agencies, just like Oyo Operation Burst, were on routine patrol.
He explained that the security outfit accosted two people that parked their vehicles in a suspicious manner, in a place that is prone to kidnapping. He added that all of a sudden, one the occupants of the vehicles got out and fell down. He stated further: “A passerby just filmed it, processed it and uploaded it into the social media, and said SARS in Ughelli had killed somebody.
“The next day, people in Ughelli started protesting. Then, Lagos picked it and it went boom all over the country as a result of fake news. SARS was never involved. The person they were talking about never died. He is still alive.
“He has made even a public statement. And the person that did the video and posted it has apologised and he has been charged to court. That is the effect of fake news.”
On the purpose of his visit, Adamu, who stated that the Nigeria Police Force is currently undergoing reforms in all segments, said: “My being here today is to tell you that every Nigerian, in our constitution, has fundamental rights. Police officers also have rights as human beings. Therefore, you must protect your rights. Nobody should trample upon your rights and go free in as much as we too will protect the rights of Nigerians. You are not supposed to be demoralised.
“Constitutionally, you have duties to perform in this country, which is to protect lives and property, and fight crime. Therefore, no amount of insults, no amount of attacks, will prevent you from performing your constitutional duties. We encourage you to go out there and perform your duties in the way you were trained to do it and you must follow the protocol of doing it, and be civil to members of the society.
“In the cause of doing your job, be courageous and in the cause of doing the job, if anything happens, we shall stand behind you. But never shy away from performing duties. If you shy away from performing your duties, it means the whole society will be in trouble. It means the criminals will come out and have field day.
“You’re licensed to carry arms. The carrying of arms is not for correction. It should protect lives and property and to protect Nigerians. Therefore, it is necessary to use it the way you should use it.
“When your life is in danger and there is no other means, you should defend yourself, you can use your firearms. But you are not supposed to kill. You are supposed to use your firearms to maim so that you can restrain the person from causing more arms, but not to kill.”
Similarly, Adamu also charged officers in Akure, the Ondo State capital, yesterday not to be demoralized by #EndSARS protest.
The IGP, who paid a visit to Ondo State to assess the level of destruction done during the #EndSARS protest, said police were not given firearms to fight against citizens but rather to protect them.
He said: “Please do not be demoralized. Your job is to protect the citizens and their property, so we should come out and do our jobs with confidence.”
Adamu, who also asked police officers to protect themselves against attacks, said the police have the right to defend themselves in case of physical danger.
The police boss said the recent mass promotion of junior officers was to encourage them to do their job diligently more than ever before, noting that various reforms, including introduction of police trust fund and health insurance scheme had been approved by the Federal Government to boost their morale.