The Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu has debunked reports that police officers shot at peaceful protesters stating that the report was untrue.
This comes after a report by Amnesty International dated 21st October 2020, stated that unarmed protesters were shot at by the policemen and army and called for a thorough investigation.
In a Tweet through its official handle, it says “An on-the-ground investigation by Amnesty International has confirmed that the Nigerian army and police killed at least 12 peaceful protesters yesterday at two locations in Lagos. Killings took place in Lekki and Alausa, where thousands were protesting police brutality. Evidence gathered from eyewitnesses, video footage and hospital reports confirm that between 6:45p9:00 pm9:00pm on Tuesday 20 October, the Nigerian military opened fire on thousands of people who were peacefully calling for an end to police brutality.”
However, Adamu has affirmed that officers of the Nigeria Police Force acted professionally, exercised commendable restraints and some paid the supreme price for peace during the recent protests and ensuing violence in some parts of the country.
He described the Amnesty Int’l report as untrue, misleading and contrary to all available empirical evidence. The IGP noted that during the protests, officers of the Force used legitimate means to ensure that the protests were carried out peacefully and in most cases, physically protected and walked side-by-side with the protesters.
He reiterated that even when the protests turned violent in some parts of the country, the officers still maintained utmost restraint and did not use excessive force in managing the situations.
Available Reports show that twenty-two (22) police personnel were extra-judicially killed by some rampaging protesters and scores injured during the protests. Many of the injured personnel are in life-threatening conditions at the hospitals.
Two hundred and five (205) Police stations and formations including other critical private and public infrastructure were also damaged by a section of the protesters. Despite these unprovoked attacks, our police officers never resorted to using unlawful force or shooting at the protesters as alleged in the report.
It also beggars the imagination that Amnesty International failed to mention or pay tribute to Police officers who were gruesomely murdered during the protests while serving their fatherland.
The Force decries the discriminatory tendencies exhibited by Amnesty International as seen in the report. One wonders if, in the estimation of Amnesty International, police officers are not also human beings equally entitled to the protection of their fundamental rights to life and dignity of the human person.
The IGP, while noting that the Force is committed to the Federal Government’s ongoing holistic reforms of the NPF targeted at improving service delivery, positive police-citizen relationship and respect for human rights, enjoins Amnesty International to ensure they subject their reports to adequate scrutiny and proper verification of facts before making the reports public.
Meanwhile, Amnesty International, in a series of tweets, argued that the killings amount to extrajudicial executions and suspected perpetrators held accountable through fair trials.