Matters Arising

EndSARS: Policemen, soldiers storm Lekki toll plaza

In what appears to be an attempt to forestall another round of #EndSARS protests, armed policemen and soldiers have been deployed in the Lekki toll plaza, Lagos.

Several motorists said that the security operatives were deployed around midnight.

The Police Public Relations Officer, Muyiwa Adejobi, did not respond to calls on Monday morning.

However, both the military and the police authorities had warned several times last week that they would not allow another round of protests to take place.

The #EndSARS protests, which took place in October, were hijacked by hoodlums leading to the destruction of properties and loss of lives.

The demonstrations also turned bloody in Lagos on October 20, 2020, when men in military uniform opened fire on young protesters at the Lekki toll plaza, an epicentre of the protests in Lagos.

Thousands of prisoners were also set free during the riots that followed.

I’m in firm control of Nigeria Police, IGP replies Army General

I'm in firm control of Nigeria Police, IGP replies Army General | |  Blueprint Newspapers Limited

The Nigeria Police Force (NPF) has debunked claims by the Director-General, Nigerian Army Resource Centre, Major General Garba Wahab (retd.), that the Inspector General of  Police, IGP Mohammed Adamu, was not in control of the Force.

Wahab, who was a guest at a breakfast programme of Channels Television, claimed the Police boss may have lost control of the Force following the seeming refusal of police personnel across the country to get back to duty as a result of the EndSARS protests.

Force Public Relations Officer (FPRO), DCP Frank Mba, debunked the claims in a press statement titled: Workings of The NPF: IGP is in Firm Control; Rtd Major General Garba Wahab’s Position Clearly Wrong; Spoke On Issues Outside His Area of Core Competence, Says IGP, Tuesday in Abuja.

It read in part: “The attention of the Nigeria Police Force has been drawn to comments and reactions during an interview session on Channels TV Sunrise Daily program of 13th November, 2020 where one Major General Garba Wahab (retd.) commented that “…rather than improving the improvement (sic) …the IGP is sitting down there with all the paraphernalia of office deprived of actually having control of police… he is not in control.

Lagos state police command sanctions police officers for misconduct

The Lagos state police command has dismissed 10 officers and demoted 18 others over various cases of misconduct.

According to a statement issued on Wednesday by Olumuyiwa Adejobi, Lagos police public relations officer (PPRO), the affected persons were sanctioned for offences ranging from murder to corrupt practices, negligence and excessive use of power.

The offences were committed between October 2019 and October 2020.

Adejobi also noted that 16 officers were discharged and acquitted for “want of evidence”.

“In its bid to promote discipline and core values of policing in Lagos State, the Police Command has tried eighty-one (81) personnel for various criminal and disciplinary offences that were committed between October 2019 and October 2020, ranging from murder, discreditable conducts, excessive use of power, corrupt practices and negligence,” the statement read.

“The command has dismissed and prosecuted seven (7), while ten (10) personnel were dismissed. In addition, eighteen (18) of the men were reduced in ranks and twenty-nine (29) were awarded #10-naira major entries and warning letters accordingly. Others were awarded extra fatigue, while sixteen (16) of the men were discharged and acquitted for want of evidence.

“The personnel that were tried in the orderly room proceedings conducted at various locations in Lagos State included forty-five (45) Inspectors, twenty-nine (29) Sergeants, seven (7) Corporals.

“Similarly, some senior officers of the command have been queried for various disciplinary offences and the queries are being processed at the Force Headquarters, Abuja, for necessary action and punishments.

“It is important to state that some of the affected personnel were attached to Lagos State Police Command while others were serving at various police formations within Lagos State. The trials were instituted based on series of complaints/allegations levelled against them.

“According to the provisions of the Police Act and Regulations, punishments are awarded according to the magnitude of offences committed by police personnel.”

Hakeem Odumosu, commissioner of police in Lagos, was quoted as saying the decision was taken as part of efforts to change the public’s perception about the force.

“The Commissioner of Police, Lagos State, CP Hakeem Odumosu, has deemed it necessary to inform the general public on the steps being taken by the command to sanitise its workforce in order to change the general perception that the Lagos State Police Command and the entire police force, in particular, condone indiscipline and crimes,” Adejobi added.

“The police boss wishes to reiterate that police personnel are held accountable for their actions and inactions. He, therefore, appeals to the general public to report any misconduct of police personnel to appropriate authorities, as such will be treated accordingly and justice will be done.

“While CP Hakeem Odumosu charges officers and men of the command to be thorough and professional in their day-to-day activities, he assures them of reform and better standards in the police as being championed by the Inspector-General of Police, IGP Muhammed Abubakar Adamu, NPM, mni.”

The development comes weeks after youth took to the streets to call for an end to police brutality and harassment under the #EndSARS campaign.

#EndSARS protesters arrested in Abuja

Four #EndSARS protesters were arrested Friday as dozens demonstrated in Nigeria’s capital Abuja against police abuses, activists said, two weeks after unrest over the issue rocked the country.

Footage on social media showed a small crowd taking to the streets to try to keep up pressure on the authorities after a bloody crackdown helped stamp out demonstrations last month.

“Four of our members were arrested this morning in front of the National Assembly,” rights activist Deji Adeyanju told AFP.

Africa’s most populous country was swept by weeks of widespread protests in October sparked by anger over brutality from the police’s Special Anti-Robbery Squad.

The government disbanded the unit and pledged reforms but still struggled to contain the largest challenge to Nigeria’s governing elite in decades.

Amnesty International says 56 people died across the country, including a dozen peaceful protesters gunned down by security forces in the heart of biggest city Lagos.

That bloodshed unleashed days of chaos and looting in a string of cities, and demonstrations have since stopped.

But activist Adeyanju insisted the #EndSARS protests “will continue” until demands for an overhaul are met.

Government opponent Omoyele Sowore said the arrests on Friday showed the police “will never learn”.

The police force in Abuja were not immediately available for comment.

The authorities have denied any responsibility for the killing of demonstrators and hope a judicial panel probing the violence in Lagos will tamper lingering anger.

Victims narrate ordeal to Judicial Panels of Enquiry

An officer of the Nigeria Customs Service, Isaac Edoh, said he had yet to know whether his son was dead or alive as he narrated his ordeal to the Edo State Judicial Panel of Enquiry.

Isaac, who is from Benue State, said the last time he saw his son, Baba Edoh, was inside the custody of the Edo State Police Command in 2011.

Narrating his story to the panel in Benin City, he said his son was an undergraduate of English Literature, Usman Dan Fodio University, Sokoto, before he was allegedly killed by the police.

The father of the deceased said in June 2011, he received an anonymous call from the State Criminal Investigation Department of Edo State Police Command that his son was arrested along Auchi road for alleged kidnapping.

“I tried speaking with him, but was prevented by officers on duty despite the knowledge of the relationship between me and the suspect in their custody.

“I immediately contacted the officer-in-charge of kidnapping section, who informed that my son was not in their custody. I was informed that he was one of the suspects paraded in a national television on June 4, 2011.

“I was told armed robbers attacked and shot my son while the police was conducting further investigations in Auchi. None of the police officers sustained injuries. The only person they said died was my son. Since his death, the police have refused to release the corpse.

“I later filed a suit in the High Court for fundamental rights, and got judgment. Unfortunately, the police appealed the case on the basis of identity conflict. The Court of Appeal urged us to return to the High Court for retrial. Since then, I have been demoralised and don’t know whether he is alive or dead; all I want is justice.”

The chairman of the panel, Justice Ada Ehigiamusoe (Rtd), admitted a photograph of the son, Compact Disk of paraded suspects, and court proceedings as exhibits.

How police interference ruined my marriage – Victim

Mr. Sunday Akpan, a victim of human rights abuse on Thursday told the Edo State Judicial Panel of Inquiry that his marriage was ruined following undue interference by a police officer.

Akpan, who spoke through his counsel, Festus Obijeko, shortly after addressing the panel, told journalists in Benin City that he was smacked repeatedly on his ear by a police officer for allegedly selling his wife’s refrigerator and shop to pay debt.

Akpan stated that his condition had made it difficult for him to fend for his family.

“As I am talking with you now, himself and his wife are not together again. The children are not in school, the children are not well-fed. That psychological coverage that family should offer to children has been missing,” he said.

Protesters vandalised my car, says Ekiti victim

The Judicial Panel of Inquiry into allegations of human rights violations against the police, including officials of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad and other persons in Ekiti State began it sitting on Thursday.

The Chairman of the panel, Justice Cornelius Akintayo (retd), disclosed that the panel had received 22 petitions from members of the public.

The Akintayo-led panel was, however, told by a petitioner, Abiodun Olusola Daramola, a lecturer at Federal Polytechnic, Ado Ekiti, how his 505 salon car, with Registration Number YEE 310 AA, was allegedly vandalised by EndSARS protesters at the Dallimore area of the state capital on October 19.

Daramola, who said he had to park his car at the area following his inability to drive through in view of the protesters’ barricade, said “I decided that I should trek to Okesa Market to pick what I wanted to buy. When I returned, I met my car badly damaged.

“All the glasses (windshields and windows) were smashed. The bonnet and body were affected as well,” he said, adding that “I will be glad if the government can assist me in ameliorating the cost of the damage.”

Osun panel receives three petitions

In Osun, the panel constituted to investigate police brutality in Osun State said it had received three petitions.

The panel’s Secretary, Mr Kemi Bello, told our correspondent that the panel would soon commence sitting on the petitions.

Bello also said the Oba’s Chamber at Finance Building in Osun State Secretariat, Abere had been tentatively chosen as venue of the panel’s sitting.

Edo panel receives 27 petitions

The situation was, however, different in Edo as the State Judicial Panel of Inquiry received 27 petitions as it began sitting on Thursday at the Civic Centre.

The Chairman of the panel, Justice Ada Ehigiamusoe (retd.), said members could also come to the office of the panel to make oral petition.

Kaduna panel calls for petitions

In Kaduna, the State Judicial Panel of Inquiry called on members of the public to submit petitions on police brutality and extrajudicial killings perpetrated in the state.

The panel established on October 16, 2020 in the wake of the #EndSARS protests, was given six months to conclude and submit its report.

A statement by the Secretary of the panel, Hajara Jibrin Abubakar, urged the public to submit the petition/memoranda on or before November 25, 2020 in 15 hard copies to be addressed to the secretary of the panel.

 ‘Nigeria’s unity not negotiable’

Meanwhile, the Emir of Katsina, Dr. Abdulmumin Usman, on Thursday, called for the punishment of whoever was found to have participated in the burning and looting of properties during the recent #EndSARS protests in some parts of the country.

He maintained that the unity of Nigeria was not negotiable, insisting that Nigerians were together in peace despite our differences.

The emir gave the advice in Katsina when members of the State Judicial Panel of Inquiry on Police Brutality paid him a courtesy visit.

Earlier, the Chairman of the panel, Justice Abbas Bawale, told the emir that he and other members were at the palace to seek his support in their assignment

ICC begins probe into shooting of #EndSARS protesters

The International Criminal Court (ICC) has said it’s conducting a preliminary examination into the recent #EndSARS protests in Nigeria.

It also said it would make findings of the preliminary examination public.

The office of the ICC prosecutor in a statement issued Wednesday said it had received information on alleged crimes.

It said, “The examination will assess whether the legal criteria for opening an investigation under the Rome Statute are met”.

The #EndSARS protesters gathered in streets in major towns of the country to demonstrate against police brutality for weeks, leading to a crackdown.

The BBC report that the crackdown on peaceful protesters saw about 51 civilians, 11 police officers and seven soldiers killed.

Rights group Amnesty International said security forces opened fire on protesters, killing and injuring a number of people. Both the police and the army have rejected Amnesty’s allegation.

Ekiti: Judicial panel kicks off, medical experts, legal officers, police to be part of investigations

The panel of inquiry set up by Governor Kayode Fayemi to probe into allegations of police brutality and other injustices in Ekiti State, yesterday began sitting, with a stern warning to petitioners who parade fake documents to stay clear of face prosecution.

The panel assured that it would dispense justice without fear or favour and also asked policemen who also suffered any form of violation to file their petitions before the panel to seek justice.

The panel handed down the warning in Ado Ekiti, on Thursday, when it began sitting on the allegations of human rights violation against Police officers, including those of the disbanded Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS).

At its inaugural meeting, the Chairman of the panel, Justice Cornelius Akintayo, said: “I want to sound a note of warning that it is a grievous offence to bring fictitious documents before this panel.

“At the right time, we will call all petitioners to come and testify to test the veracity of the documents presented and all their claims before this panel.

“Police too can get justice. The CP should tell his people that if any of them had suffered any damage or had his rights abridged, he should file in his petition because we are all citizens of this nation.

“There must be justice for all for Nigeria to have peace. We need to get justice either as police as members of the society or for the one suffered by any member of the society from the police.

“As a fact-finding panel, we will try and get to the roots of any issue brought before us, because we can’t manufacture evidence for ourselves. People must be patient with us as we trash all issues. Whoever that is alleged will be invited to also defend himself in the spirit of a fair hearing”.

In his comment, the Commissioner of Police, Mr. Babatunde Mobayo, appealed to the panel to take cognisance of the fact that any policeman who had been disciplined for any misdemeanour should be let off the hook, in order not to suffer double punishment.

“In the police, we have mechanisms that we use to handle issues like this, but this one will also complement. Recently, 10 policemen, including an Assistant Commissioner of Police were dismissed by the police authority. Some are still facing the disciplinary committee. Punishments are being meted out to our officers when we get a report of a breach of oath.

“The panel must take into consideration that we have some policemen, who have been sentenced to jail, death, demotion, dismissed for an offence. We want you to take note of whether they had been punished before your recommendations, so they won’t suffer double punishment.

“Anything that will make you succeed; we will do at our end”.

The Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Barr. Olawale Fapohunda, described the task before the panel as daunting, adding that their duties had been made easier by the desire of the people to get justice for infringements of now and in the past.

Fapohunda stated that “the government will ensure that as many as possible that attend this panel will get justice. We expect that the panel will facilitate interaction between the government and the youth. The government is also trying to find an innovative way through technology to widen the scope of access to justice across all villages.

“This panel does not suggest that the Nigerian police are on trial. Within the police in Ekiti, we have had course to get policemen who served us professionally, but we have to get justice for our people who had suffered any injustice in the past and now, it is a mandatory obligation for our government.

“We have made available to you legal officers from the office of public defenders and citizens’ rights to offer services to you and also medical experts. It is our hope that this panel will give succour to whoever comes here to seek justice”.

The NMA Chairman, Ekiti chapter, Dr. Kayode Ariyibi, said the panel must exploit the medical inquiry mechanism to get to the root of some claims made by petitioners, saying medical experts in the state are ready to partner the panel in this regard.

Also, Mr. Adeyemi Adewumi, the Chairman, Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Ado branch, urged the panel to make the rule of procedure available to the public, saying his members are also ready to offer free legal services to any petitioner appearing before the panel.

The panel adjourned sitting to Thursday, November 5, 2020, for a hearing of the petitions.

Your time has come, embrace dialogue– minister urges youths

Abuja – The Minister of Youth and Sport Development, Mr. Sunday Dare has appealed to the youth to embrace dialogue in order to move the country forward.

Dare said this on Sunday in Abuja at the maiden edition of the National Youth Day celebration with the theme” Invest in the Youth, Secure Our Future”.

He said that with what the country had witnessed in the past three weeks, there could be no better time than now to celebrate the youth and validate their contributions to national economic development.

According to him, the celebration is an opportunity to reflect, take stock and chart a new youth action plan that will tackle headlong the issues that confront our teeming youth population.

“Let me start with a direct reference to the new focus and youth vision of the African Development Bank (AfDB) led by Dr. Akinwumi Adesina.

“That the establishment of Youth Entrepreneurship Investment Banks will help to fully unleash youth potential through technology and entrepreneurship.

“This assertion made in September 2020, first validates the strength of our youth and secondly demands from government and the private sector direct investments in the youth population with a de-risking mentality.

“We will return to dissect this momentarily,” Dare said.

According to him, many of the youth can achieve a lot but for lack of opportunities, education that is not suitable for the jobs available, a huge unemployment popular market occasioned by a struggling and sluggish economy,

Others he said were lack of relevant skills, lack of credit and access to finance for youth enterprises and businesses, low investment from the public and private sector,” he said.

Dare said it was time to change the trajectory to one that was capable of lifting millions of youths out of unemployment, under employment, frustration with the system, dearth of opportunities and stunted growth.

“The dreams and careers of our youth must receive a new burst of energy and renewed hope so that as a country our future can be secured,”’ he said.

Dare said the theme was apt as it would enable the country to invest more and deliberately in the innovative minds, skills, talents and enterprise of the youth.

He said it would equip them with needed and relevant technical, digital skills and also make them wealth creators, self-starters, employers of labour and leaders in their own right.

“Globally, there is a paradigm shift from merely empowering the youth to directly investing in them,” Dare said.

He said the president, African Development Bank, Dr Akinwumi Adesina challenged governments and the private sector to shift focus from youth empowerment to youth investments.

Dare said that without investments in the youth today, there would be no returns either now or in the future.

“Adesina did not stop there, he wanted the establishment of youth Entrepreneurship and investment banks that can cater for and provide funds for entrepreneurs,” he said.

“A bank you can walk into where they see assets not liabilities, where they have faith and confidence in young people,”. he quoted Adesina as saying.

He said that the country was blessed, and saddled with a bulging youth population that could turn out to be the country’s greatest resource if Nigeria made the right investments and in a timely manner.

Dare said that President Muhammadu Buhari since the inception of his administration had never taken his eyes off the ball when it comes to youth developmental issues.

According to him, the president believes when the youth are given to hard work, they should also be provided with opportunities.

Dare said the government had initiated a slew of multifaceted youth focused programmes that were cross cutting.

“Wherever a youth group is found, these programmes target them. Indeed, in July 22, the president and council approved the establishment of the Nigeria Youth Investment Fund, (NYIF).

“It was a culmination of all efforts geared at giving our youth access to funds needed for enterprise.

“The president, through the NYIF demonstrated that Nigeria was in sync and agreement with the new thinking in youth development and that sees investing in the youth as a condition to unleash their potential,” he said.

According to him, the NYIF has been oversubscribed for the 2020 half year funding provided for. More than one million applications have been received with more expected to come.

Dare said that with the protests took place across the country, Nigeria was taking measures to change the narrative by investing in youth development.

He said that change has begun and that what was needed was to deepen the youth initiatives and accelerate the onboarding of beneficiaries in a transparent and effectual manner.

Dare said that Nigeria must license a new tribe of youth investment banks with single digit loans dedicated to our youth.

“Through the NYIF, the Federal Government has set the tone and leading the way,” he said.

Dare said during the celebration 10 winners of the 60-day APP challenge competition and five young innovators in different fields received #12.5 million.

He said that Buhari had faith in the youth and was committed to his meeting the demands of the protesting youth.

Dare said Buhari was convinced that the acts of brutality against the youth and the larger Nigerian population needed to be addressed.

He said that the president had activated all necessary levels of government to deal with the demands of the youth.

“These protests had earned the youth a well-deserved place at the table. So, take your seat in order to continue the progress and reform you have called for.

“From the protest, it is time for the next phase which is dialogue, identify trusted leaders and have them come forward.

“Any movement without leaders becomes rudderless and susceptible to being hijacked by people with agenda inimical to the very reasons behind the protests.

“The youth have a unique opportunity to help write a new chapter in our journey to a more compassionate and benign society and a greater nation.

“Don’t let this historic chance pass through your hands. You deserve this moment, as does the nation we love,” he said.

#EndPoliceBrutality: NPF Count Losses

Following the recent shooting of unarmed #EndSARS protesters who converged on around the Lekki Tollgate in Lagos state to protest against police brutality and seek reforms for good governance, arson, killings, looting and all sorts of violence have trailed the once peaceful, particularly the burning of police stations across the country by the aggrieved youths.

On October 11, as the #EndSARS protests gathered momentum, across the country, the Federal Government heed the citizens cries and announced the dissolution of the Special Anti-Robber Squad (SARS) unit of the Nigerian police force, which has been linked to torture, unlawful imprisonment, extortion and murder of innocent citizens.

The #EndSARS hashtag dates back to 2017, when it was used to share experiences of assault and violence. Amnesty International reported at least 82 cases of torture and extra-judicial execution between January 2017 and May 2020. The vexation of the youths reached its peak, when on Tuesday, 20th October 2020, when men of the Nigerian military opened fire at Lekki Tollgate on unarmed, peaceful protesters.

Following the massacre, the protests degenerated into more killings, arson and looting as the angry youths unleashed mayhem in several states across the country. It was clear that the frustrations expressed on the streets of various states were not just about the crimes of a police unit. Obviously the youths felt betrayed by the government.

However, by channeling their anger at the police, with the razing of its buildings, the youths lost focus, and may not even come close to the real target. Yes, the guilty officers, who perpetrated those heinous crimes should be brought to book and punished, but burning down police stations won’t amount to anything and it’s doing more harm than good.

There are actually some policeman that are honest working people. The youths need to show restraint, empathy by remembering those good ones. We agree that they have to get better, starting by weeding out bad officers but violence is not the way to go.

The effects of the wanton attacks on police stations and officers, sometimes under very gruesome circumstances, also means the police themselves are vulnerable, this must be very demoralising to many officers, particularly the good ones and should also be of great concern to citizens.

The Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, last Friday said 22 police personnel were killed across the country during the protests.

He said 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.

The statement said available reports showed that 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 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 use of unlawful force or shooting at the protesters as alleged in the report”, it said.

IGP Unveils fatalities

On October 30, the Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, unveiled the gory statistics of fatalities during a virtual meeting with commissioners of police in the 36 states and FCT, in Abuja.

The statistics showed that the death toll nationwide from the violence is now 73, with 22 of them policemen.

He also directed his officers and men to henceforth sturdily defend themselves if attacked by hoodlums again. The IG also disclosed that 71 public warehouses and 248 privately owned stores were looted in the course of the protests in 13 states and the FCT.

According to the IG, the affected 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.

Adamu said 205 critical national security assets, corporate facilities and private property were attacked, burnt or vandalised.

”So far, a total of 10 firearms including eight AK 47 rifles stolen 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, 1,596 suspects were arrested in connection with the violence and widespread looting by hoodlums, who hijacked the protests across the country.

The breakdown shows that 520 suspects were arrested in Lagos, 367 in Plateau State, 210 in the FCT and 142 in Kwara State. Similarly, 82 suspects were apprehended in Osun State, 60 in Adamawa State and 36 in Kano and Ogun states respectively.

He said 33 suspects were arrested in Edo State, 20 each in Kaduna and Akwa Ibom states, 15 in Abia and Delta states and 13 in Oyo and Ekiti states respectively. Furthermore, 10 suspects were arrested in Rivers State and four in Ondo State.

“Out of these figures, not less than 1,117 have been charged to court across the country”, Adamu added

Meanwhile, Adamu who spoke on the attacks on policemen during an assessment tour of the Federal Capital Territory Police Command, same day asked all personnel of the force to protect themselves against attacks, saying his officers and men have the right to defend themselves in case of physical danger.

He also encouraged the operatives, who had abandoned the streets in the past five days following the killing of over 22 policemen during the #EndSARS violence, to return to their beats.

Adamu alleged that the #EndSARS protesters were out to demoralise the personnel, adding that the government and the Nigeria Police Force would soon roll out packages for the families of the deceased officers.

He said: “The unity of this country lies in the support that is given to police officers because if you are demoralised, the tendency is for criminals to take over the public space, and the country is relying on us to make sure that the public space is not taken over by the criminals. So, no amount of provocation, no amount of insult would make us shy away from our responsibilities.

“Inasmuch as we are aware that the government is behind us; so, we would encourage you to keep performing your duties. We would encourage you to be professional, to be civic, but if anybody touches you, if anybody comes to assault you, you can also protect yourself.

“When we talk of human rights, the police are human; so, the rights of police officers would also be protected. So, we are sending the message that legally, we have the right to protect ourselves but while we are doing that, we make sure that until we are endangered.”

Assessment Committee Inaugurated

The IG also inaugurated a 9-man committee to undertake an assessment of the loss suffered by the Nigeria Police Force across the country during the #EndSARS protests. He explained the setting up of the assessment committee was informed by the need to properly document the loss suffered by the police for the purpose of strategic planning, re-construction and re-equipment, as well as for future reference.

He said the force encountered huge losses in terms of human and material resources during the #EndSARS protests which commenced on a rather peaceful note but unfortunately degenerated into violence, loss of lives and wanton destruction of property.

The committee, whose chairman is CP Abutu Yaro, was charged by the IG to see the assignment as a call to service and that it must be undertaken with purposefulness, empathy, dedication and sacrifice.

The terms of reference of the Committee include the physical visit to the scenes of incidents and capture the pictorials of all damages done to police infrastructure and personnel; verify the fatalities suffered by the police; establish the weapons holdings that were lost during the incidents, amongst others. He emphasised that the committee should visit families of deceased police officers and the injured on behalf of the force.

Interventions by state governments for the slain officers

Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, last Friday pledged, police officers lynched in the wake of the violence instigated by the nationwide youth demonstration against police brutality will not die in vain, The state government, directed Lagos State Scholarship Board to award scholarships to the children of the slain officers up to the university level.

Sanwo-Olu, made the offer to take the bill of replacing the logistics lost by the police when he visited the Command Headquarters in Ikeja to boost the morale of officers, following the demoralising events of the past week in which police officers and their stations were targeted by hoodlums.

The governor got the assurance of the police’s commitment to strengthen security across the state from the Commissioner of Police, Mr. Hakeem Odumosu.

Sanwo-Olu said the statutory duties of the Police could not be wished away because of the actions of a few bad eggs, noting that the impact of the police officers’ absence on the roads was generally felt by residents.

He said the State must put the event of the past week behind it and move on to restore peace across the communities, and to achieve this, police officers, must regain their confidence.

He said, “Commissioner of Police has come forward with a number of requests, which we will need to address to boost the morale of officers after last week’s event. As your governor, I have come here to take full responsibility for the loss you have suffered in terms of logistics. From tomorrow (Thursday), we will start implementing these requests.

“Through the Lagos State Security Trust Fund (LSSTF), we will be replacing the police operational vehicles burnt in the violence. We have a bigger plan for all the police stations burnt down. We will look for the funds and build befitting stations that will set the standard of what police stations should be.

“The most important request is to offer scholarship to the children of officers that died. I have directed the Lagos State Scholarship Board under the Special Adviser on Education to immediately award scholarship to the children of the slain officers.”

Sanwo-Olu said the state Government would also be compensating family members of the officers killed in the violence and take care of the burial arrangement of the slain officers, adding that the state would also be picking up the hospital bills of those injured in the mayhem. He also promised that police officers serving in Lagos are also to get life insurance from the state government, Sanwo-Olu promised

The governor directed the Executive Secretary of LSSTF, Dr. Rasaq Balogun, to establish the modality with the police leadership in the state.

The governor also approved the request to upgrade Police Cottage Hospital in Ikeja, directing the Commissioner for Health to inspect the facility for the required upgrade.

In addition to donating two 150KVa generating sets to the police, Sanwo-Olu said the Command Headquarters would be connected to the State’s Independent Power Project (IPP) for constant power supply.

Responding, Odumosu said the manner with which the slain officers were murdered brought down morale in the command.

He said the police officers remained committed to their statutory responsibilities, thanking the governor for approving their requests.

The gesture, the police boss said, would restore confidence in the state’s police workforce.

Deputy Inspector General (DIG) of Police in charge of Research and Planning, Leye Oyebade, said the Police took away valuable lessons from the EndSARS protest,noting that there was no better time to fully implement the community policing than now.

He said the protest had ended and it was time for the police to win back citizens’ confidence and trust.

He said, “As police officers, we must now go back to the drawing board and cultivate the goodwill of the communities in which we operate. I’m particularly charging divisional police headquarters to devise strategies tailored toward your local realities and employ digital tools.”

Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers on its part announced N20 million compensation each to families of soldiers and policemen allegedly killed by members of the proscribed Indigenous Peoples Organization of Biafra (IPOB) in Oyigbo during the EndSARS protest.

Wike made the declaration during a condolence visit to the Rivers State Commissioner of Police, Mr Joseph Mukan, and families of the slain policemen at the Rivers State Police Command.

In a statement signed by his Special Assistant on Media, Mr Kelvin Ebiri, the governor also promised to rebuild all burnt police stations in Oyigbo and vowed to ensure that the IPOB ceases to exist in the state.

Some states whose police stations were razed by hoodlums

Oyo state

The police command in Oyo States said they lost 10 officers and 5 stations to hoodlums during the #EndSARS protests. The State Commissioner for Police, Mr. Chucks Enwonwu, said six policemen were killed while five police stations were burnt by hoodlums during the violence that trailed the protest in the state. Enwonwu, while bemoaning the killing of the policemen, said some of them were gruesomely murdered. He said nine suspects were arrested and the police are also on the trail of more suspects.

According to him, ”Six police officers were gruesomely murdered, police patrol vehicles were burnt down and exhibits looted in the exhibits room with many police arms and ammunition carted away due to activities of criminal elements who capitalised on the protest to perpetrate their heinous crimes.

”Nonetheless, the Oyo State Police Command has arrested no fewer than nine suspected arsonists and looters for allegedly attacking the Divisional Police headquarters , Iseyin on Thursday, 22 October, 2020 and thereafter setting the station ablaze under the pretext of #EndSARS protests that lingered for so many days.

Anambra State

In Anambra, four policemen were killed while 11 stations were burnt. Officers of the Anambra State police command wept over the killings of their colleagues and burning of 11 Police Stations by the hoodlums.

The Commissioner of Police in Anambra, Mr. John Abang, disclosed this in Awka during the parade of 17 suspected hoodlums. Abang said 11 stations were burnt down and six vandalised during which the hoodlums carted away motorcycles, ammunition and other valuables.

He said about 20 vehicles were razed, including an Armoured Personnel Carrier and patrol vehicles. The Commissioner, who applauded his men for the professionalism with which they managed the crisis, said the lives of police officers in the state were still in danger as hoodlums were still on their trail and most cannot go home.

“In the course of these heinous acts, the hoodlums murdered four police officers including the Divisional Police Officer (DPO), Osumenyi Division, CSP Akpan Joseph, ASP Agu Micheal, the Station Officer (SO), Osumenyi Division and a young PC Udegbunam Sunday Celestine, leaving two others injured.

“In their state of callousness, the hoodlums also murdered and beheaded Insp John Oche attached to the Anti-Cult Unit and burnt his body to ashes parading the streets with the deceased policeman’s head. In addition to attacking police formations, other government and private facilities such as the Revenue House, Ocha Brigade office and private trucks loaded with goods were attacked and valuable properties looted.

“Despite concerted efforts by the hoodlums to create a state of lawlessness in the state, the command stood its ground and repelled their attacks in various formations such as Area Command Onitsha, Ogidi, Awada, CPS Onitsha, Inland town and ‘B’ Divisions.”

“In light of this, the command would continue to put up spirited efforts to arrest all other hoodlums who have carried out massive looting and coordinated attacks on police stations and personnel.”

FCT

In Abuja, the Dutse Makaranta Police Station, Kubwa, was set ablaze by suspected hoodlums on October 20. The station and a church were said to have been razed during a clash between security operatives and hoodlums. The incident was also said to have led to the death of three persons.

Edo State

Hoodlums on October 19, attacked three police stations in Edo state. The hoodlums, in addition to the earlier attack on the Correctional Facility along Sapele road, Benin City, vandalised the second Correctional Facility at Oko, also in Benin City, capital of Edo state.

The three police posts attacked were Ugbekun Police Station, Oba Market Police Station and Idogbo Police Station.

During the attack, they carted away arms and ammunition at the stations’ armoury, as well as other valuables before setting suspects free. It was gathered that the vandals took advantage of the #EndSARS protest to perpetrate the attack on the police stations and the Correctional Facilities. At the Oko Correctional facility, they were said to have broke into it and freed about 120 inmates.

Ondo State

Meanwhile in Ondo, on October 22, hoodlums razed the division police station at Adegbemile junction in Akure, the Ondo State capital, several vehicles within the premises were also torched.

Some policemen on duty fled for safety after the hoodlums overpowered them.

The Ondo State Police Command, few days later, gave details of how two of its officers lost their lives in the violent attacks that followed the peaceful #EndSARS protests. The commissioner of police, Bolaji Salami, while addressing journalists at the police headquarters, said the two sergeants, were killed in Ondo and Ore towns.

He said the officer killed at Ore ran into the hoodlums while riding on his motorbike and was lynched by a mob.

Mr Salami said the sergeant that was killed in Ondo town ran into the hoodlums around the palace road and was killed and burnt inside his car.

He, however, said a civilian was killed during the crisis, adding that the casualty was part of the three-man gang that attempted to rob a bank in Ondo town.

Salami’s submissions however, contradict media reports which indicated that more civilians died during the protest particularly in Ondo town. He also lamented the mayhem unleashed on the state, noting that the damage suffered by the police command in the state was unquantifiable. He appealed to the people of the state not to lose faith in the police.

Rivers State

Prior to the curfew, imposed by the state governor, Nyesom Wike hoodlums, who were armed with guns, cudgels and other weapons attacked and burnt the Afam Divisional Police Office and Police Area Command in Oyigbo Local Government Area (LGA).

The attackers reportedly killed three policemen in a bizarre manner cutting off the hand of one of the police operatives that attempted to shoot at them. Sources said the attackers, who stormed the police station last Wednesday eve at about 10pm hacked the police Armoured Personnel Carriers (APC) driver to death, burnt the second victim alive and stoned to death the third policeman.

The miscreants took control of Elelenwo, Oil Mill, Ikoku and Mile 1 causing apprehension among residents, who ran to different directions for safety. It was learnt three of the hoodlums died while attempting to burn the Mile 1 Police Division in Diobu area of Port Harcourt as the policemen resisting them and arrested others.

Ekiti State

The Ekiti State Police Command also arrested six suspects who allegedly burnt three police facilities in the state.

The police facilities that were set ablaze include two Divisional Police Stations and the Area Command office in Ikere Ekiti. During the parade of the suspects on Monday, the state’s Police Public Relations Officer, Sunday Abutu, said the minors were arrested at the scene of the incident.

According to the spokesperson, the suspects looted the exhibit room and set the station ablaze, not leaving out the vehicles parked around. He added that some policemen sustained injuries while others had to take cover for their life.

Abutu mentioned that the suspects were caught in the act and have confessed to the crime.

He said, ”When the EndSARS protest started, everything was done peacefully until the 20th of October when some hoodlums stormed our Area Command in Ikere Divisional Police Station and burnt the police station and vehicles there. They also went to two other divisional police stations, particularly the Afao Ikere division, and set the stations and vehicles there ablaze. Some police officers were even wounded while others had to run for their lives. A Joint Operation Team of the Police, the Military and other Security Agencies were immediately deployed to the scene to stop further damage.

”In the process, six suspects were arrested at the scene of the crime while others ran away. In their confessional statements, the suspects agreed that they actively participated in the burning of the police stations. We are spreading our dragnets and all the names mentioned by these suspects will be arrested. They are all at large, but we are trailing them and in the course of the investigation, they will be apprehended.”

Ebonyi State

A police station in the Abakaliki metropolis, the Central Police Station, was burnt by angry youths protesting against alleged hoarding of palliatives in the Ikwo Local Government Area of Ebonyi State. A video trending on the social media shows the protesters singing war songs and throwing different objects into the burning police station. The video also showed some policemen running into a bush for fear of being attacked by the protesters.

Cross River State

Hoodlums last week brought Calabar – the Cross River capital renowned for peace and tourism to its knees, with arsonists and looters having a field day.

In an orgy of violence precipitated by looters searching for COVID palliatives, several private businesses suffered the same fate as government buildings, after the mob let loose without discrimination.

The roll call of buildings that have suffered from the activities of these hoodlums cuts across both public and private property, with prominent citizens like Senators Gershom Bassey and Udoma Egba’s houses raided and vandalised. Also Atakpa Police Station, Watt Market were burnt down.

Enugu State

In Enugu, miscreants gruesomely murdered two Policemen, burnt down Police Stations, operational and other vehicles after series of stiff resistance by Operatives.

They also set ablaze different office buildings, a hall as well as destroyed banks’ ATMs, buildings, shops and so on. Police Officers killed include, ”Inspector John Jesse attached to Emene Police Division, who was gruesomely murdered, set ablaze and burnt beyond recognition by the miscreants in the premises of the Police Station; and – Police Constable Ogboji Emmanuel attached to Department of Operations, who was also gruesomely murdered and set ablaze on his way to work at “T-Junction”, Abakpa, Enugu.

Police Station burnt down include, ”Emene Police Station with two operational Hilux and other vehicles, including exhibits, which was burnt down; – Amechi-Idodo Police Station, which was burnt down; – Akwatta Police Post under Central Police Station, which was burnt down; – Maryland Police Post under Uwani Police Division, which was burnt down; and – Phase 6 Police Post under Trans-Ekulu Police Division, which was set ablaze and partially burnt.

Abia State

On October 20, two police officers reportedly died in clashes between security agencies and hoodlums who hijacked the #EndSARS protest in Abịa State.

One of the police officers was killed, even as the mob burnt a police station along Umuoba road axis of Ogbor Hill in Aba. It was gathered that the station was razed when a policeman fired shots at #EndSARS protesters, who refused to disperse when ordered to do so by the police. This led to a clash with the protesters during which the policeman was killed, while over 15 protesters were said to have sustained injuries from gunshots.

The situation degenerated further when reinforcements from other security agencies arrived and they also clashed with the hoodlums, leading to residents scampering for safety. The injured protesters were said to have been taken to a missionary hospital located in the area for treatment. The mob also attacked Eziama Police Division near the popular Bata junction along Aba-Ikot Ekpene Expressway.

Regrettably, the consequences of the infrastructure deficit which emerged from these destructions of properties nationwide, will be a burden on the nation, and if no solutions is found, we all have to put up with it for a very long time.

QUOTE

The breakdown shows that 520 suspects were arrested in Lagos, 367 in Plateau State, 210 in the FCT and 142 in Kwara State. Similarly, 82 suspects were apprehended in Osun State, 60 in Adamawa State and 36 in Kano and Ogun states respectively. He said 33 suspects were arrested in Edo State, 20 each in Kaduna and Akwa Ibom states, 15 in Abia and Delta states and 13 in Oyo and Ekiti states respectively. Furthermore, 10 suspects were arrested in Rivers State and four in Ondo State. Out of these figures, not less than 1,117 have been charged to court across the country

#EndSARS: Start mobilising to take Nigeria back in 2023, Peterside urges youths

The Chairman of non-profit organisation, Anap Foundation, Atedo Peterside, has urged Nigerian youths to start mobilising to take over political power in 2023.

He was reacting to the #EndSARS protests against police brutality of the last two weeks and the gory event at the Lekki toll gate in Lagos as well as the widespread violence, arson and destruction of lives and properties in the country.

The former Chairman of Cadbury Nigeria Plc condemned the attacks and condoled the youths and the families of victims.

Peterside advised youths to use their numerical strength to get what they want legally. He cautioned the youths against divisive elements and urged them to be wary of thugs.

The 65-year-old, who spoke Friday on Arise TV The Morning Show programme monitored by The PUNCH, said, “2050 is for the youths of today. It is not for those in my generation.

“We are talking about the future of Nigeria and it is for the youths. So, if things happened that get the youths to be disenchanted nationwide, then we are in trouble.

“I think what happened on Tuesday, October 20, 2020, can be turned around because it was the event of that day that made those who had no interest in politics to wake up.

“The best time to build a nation is when the youths who are in the majority, they are at least 60 to 65 per cent, have been awakened. The gentle giants move a nation forward.

“The youths themselves have learnt some lessons from these incidents. You will be most effective when you link your demands with political activism. They should start getting their voter’s cards. Don’t wait for the last one month or two months because then your cards may fail to arrive.

“There is no force more powerful than the youths in Nigeria in terms of voting. They should become politically active and send some messages.

“Based on what happened, I came to the conclusion that the youths should plan to take their country back from 2023. I’m a democrat and I will not encourage anything that will subvert democracy.

“You voted for some people and you have to see it through. Start planning now for the next election. Don’t let anybody tell you it is too early.

“One powerful signal the youths can send is that they won’t support anybody who today is above the age of 60. If you all unite on that, I bet you, all the ambitious people who are below 60 will be struggling to curry favour from you.

“When you send out that signal forcefully, they will obey you.”

Furthermore, Peterside criticised the speech of the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), on Thursday night.

According to him, the President should have made reference to all those who lost their lives and not handpicked cops who died on duty amid the civil unrest of the last few weeks.

NYCN condemns attack on #EndSARS protesters

The Chairman, National Youth Council of Nigeria, Lagos State Chapter, Lekan Biliamin-Oba, on Friday, condemned the attack on #EndSARS protesters by thugs.

Biliamin-Oba disclosed this during a press conference held in the Yaba area of the state.

He described the actions of the thugs who, on two separate occasions, attacked protesters at the Secretariat bus stop on the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, on Wednesday and Thursday as shameful, adding that the rights of the protesting youths were violated.

While urging the officers of the Nigeria Police Force to protect the protesters, Biliamin-Oba commended the efforts of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, in setting up a panel to look into cases of police brutality in the state.

Biliamin-Oba said, “The NYCN have followed and joined in the agitations and solidarity of the Nigerian youths in demanding total overhauling of the Nigerian Police Special Anti-Robbery Squad as they have suddenly become life-wasters and legalised robbers, which is far from their constitutional duties of securing the lives and properties of the youths from criminal elements.

“However, on Wednesday and Thursday, October 15 and 16, thugs attacked and injured youths protesting peacefully at Alausa. We find this act shameful as it is a blatant violation of the basic human rights of the Nigerian youth.

“We strongly condemn this and implore security operatives to protect the citizens and not stand aloof.”

Kaduna appoints panel on police brutality

Kaduna State Government has constituted a judicial panel of inquiry into acts of police brutality in the state, following the resolution of the National Economic Council (NEC).

It will be recalled that the NEC mandated state governors to constitute panels of inquiry  and other steps to ensure accountability in the operations of police units in their states.

A statement from Sir Kashim Ibrahim House, signed by Special Adviser on Media and Communication,  Mr Muyiwa Adekeye on Friday, disclosed that the Judicial Commission of Inquiry would be inaugurated on Monday, 19th October 2020.

According to the statement, retired Justice David Shiri Wyom is the Chairman of the seven-member panel and  AIG Lawal Tanko (rtd) is a member,  Rebecca Sako-John and Mustapha Jumare  represent the  civil Society.

Adekeye also said that Yakubu Umar Ibrahim represents students, while Nathaniel Sheyi Bagudu and Inna Binta Audu, will represent the youth and   National Human Rights Commission respectively.

The statement further said that Hajara Abubakar, acting Director, Citizens Rights Department of the Ministry of Justice, represents  the Attorney-General of Kaduna State.

“Representatives of civil society and youth groups will be appointed to join the governor and heads of security agencies deployed in Kaduna State,  on the Special Security and Human Rights Committee that will oversee the activities of these security agencies,’’ Adekeye said.

‘’This will be followed by the appointment of members of the Human Rights Complaints Team and the posting of these officers to a Complaints Office to enable members of the public lodge reports on the activities of security agencies and that will be forwarded to the Special Security and Human Rights Committee for appropriate action.”

#EndSARS: Command begins orderly room trial of Surulere killer cops

The Lagos State Police Command has commenced the orderly room trial of four erring police officers who shot at peaceful protesters in Area C Police Command in the Surulere area of the state.

The four cops are Inspector Bagou Michael, Inspector Ekpoudom Etop, Sergeant Nnamdi Majura, and Sergeant Akinyemi Benson.

We had earlier reported that the action of the police officers led to the death of 55-year-old Ikechukwu Iloamauzor.

Protesters on Friday night held a candle night procession for the deceased victim as well as scores of others killed by ruthless operatives of the now-disbanded Special Anti-Robbery Squad of the Nigeria Police Force.

Giving an update on Saturday, Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu said the death of Iloamauzor and others called for a “very sober reflections”.

“I have seen powerful images and videos of the #CandleForSARSVictims vigils held across the country. It calls for very sober reflections.

“Yesterday, the orderly room trial of the police officers involved in the Surulere incident began.

“Some of the victims attended and will testify before the panel next week. Justice will be served. Thank you to the team actively following up and helping victims.

“There is so much more to be done and I will keep sharing the actions we are taking in line with my announcements,” the governor tweeted.

The #EndSARS protests have been taking place across major cities in the country with youths demanding an end to police brutality and killings.

Major highways across the country have been blocked thereby grounding economic activities.

#EndInsecurityNow: DSS detains four protesters in Kano

Four members of the pan-Arewa socio-political organisation under the aegis of the Coalition of Northern Group were arrested in Kano on Friday by operatives of the Department of State Services during a protest against insecurity and bad governance.

The CNG leaders arrested are Nastura Sharif, Balarabe Rufai, Aminu Adam and Muhammad Nawaila.

The CNG officials were said to have been invited by the DSS in Kano where they were detained.

The group’s spokesperson, Abdulazeez Suleiman, gave the details of the arrest in a statement on Saturday.

He said, “The #EndInsecurityNow protests against the rampant killings in Northern Nigeria and displacement of hundreds of communities has come under intense pressure and intimidation in the last few hours by the DSS which is hell-bent on suppressing the tearful voice of northerner.

“The development saw officials of the CNG, Nastura Sharif, Balarabe Rufai, Aminu Adam and Dr Muhammad Nawaila being invited by the DSS in Kano where they were held from 11pm on Friday to 2.15am on Saturday.

“Throughout their stay at the DSS office, they were incommunicado, not answering calls on their phones and not returning same. We are on the alert.”

Suleiman had at a press conference in Abuja declared that the protests with the hashtag #EndInsecurityNow, which have been slated for the 19 Northern States followed the wave of insecurity and other challenges in the Northern region.

According to him, the protests would be aimed at drawing the attention of the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd), and governors of the 19 Northern states to the plight of the region concerning insecurity.

“In the light of the foregone observations, the CNG has no other option but to direct the extension of the protests to all northern states, commencing from Thursday, October 15, 2020.

“CNG will lead the protest to demand the Federal Government to immediately declare a state of emergency on security and take practical steps to end all manifestations of insecurity in northern Nigeria and other parts of the country,” he said.