Law enforcement officers in areas worst affected by the #EndSARS protests in the southern part of the country have resolved to continue to stay off their duty posts, especially during the forthcoming Christmas and New Year celebrations.
Rising from a joint meeting of the law enforcement officers weekend, a Divisional Police Officer, DPO, who attended the meeting, said that Nigerians should rather find a way to protect themselves from thugs, hoodlums and miscreants during the seasonal period.
According to him, the meeting which was attended by officers of the Nigerian military, security, intelligence and response agencies analysed how the violent assaults on innocent security personnel during the #EndSARS protest significantly dampened the morale of many of the servicemen and women.
“In these ember months, and up to Christmas period and the New Year, I doubt if any of the security services can guarantee maximum security as usual. There is no way we can discharge our statutory responsibilities and function when we have become soft targets of miscreants and violent persons,” he said.
The DPO further said he would not allow any of his officers and men to be drafted to life-threatening beats and assignments during the period.
He added: “Our destroyed facilities are yet to be reconstructed and rehabilitated; our looted armouries are yet to be restocked and when our men and women are yet to get over the humiliation of the atrocities committed on them by the same people we are charged to protect, how can we return to our duty post?”
In the aftermath of the #EndSARS nationwide demonstrations, which turned violent and led to the loss of lives, including that of police personnel, the Inspector General of Police, IGP, Mohammed Adamu, on Friday, directed men of the Nigeria Police Force, NPF, to, henceforth, protect themselves against any attack by hoodlums.
Speaking while on an on-the-spot assessment of the security situation in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Adamu said: “If anybody touches or assaults you, you can also protect yourself.”
But despite the marching order given by the IGP, a cross-section of personnel who preferred anonymity, that they were still sceptical about returning to their duty posts, especially in volatile areas in some states.
Meanwhile, the Police Service Commission, PSC, has also stated it would not force the security personnel to return to work after the recent attack on them and their facilities.
While denying a report that the commission would dismiss any police officer who failed to return to work, its spokesperson Ikechukwu Ani, said the agency had condemned the killing of security personnel on legitimate duties and had warned that any attempt to make the country lawless would be an ill-wind that would blow nobody any good.
In an official statement, Ani said the commission could only plead with the officers to in the spirit of nationalism, return to work while government works out enough protective programmes for them.
He said: “The commission will continue to do its best to ensure the police is motivated to do its job.
“The commission, being the employers of the Police, is pained that Policemen were killed and stations set ablaze throughout the country.
‘’It will be very insensitive at this point for anyone to say that the commission will dismiss any policeman who didn’t return to work.
‘’The commission is even at present mourning the deaths of its gallant officers who were killed in the crisis.’’