The Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Mohammed Adamu, has charged officers and men of the Abia command to put the events of the EndSARS behind them and approach their duties courageously.
Adamu gave the charge on Tuesday in Umuahia during an official visit to the command as part of his nationwide tour in the aftermath of the protest to psyche up the operatives.
He urged the police personnel not to be demoralised by the incident but brace up to the challenge, saying that there would be no law and order in society without police on the streets.
He said his visit was to appraise the situation in Abia after the protest and encourage them to go out and discharge their constitutional responsibility.
The police chief said: “It is our constitutional duty that we go out there and do the job. You know the rules of engagement.
“When you get out there, you are empowered, engage the public based on the rules of engagement.
“If in the course of performing your duties and you have followed all the rules of engagement and you make mistakes, nothing will happen.
“We will support you because there is nobody that is above mistakes.
“So you go out there, perform your duties firmly and courageously without the fear of anybody.”
Adamu said that the new Police Act, 2020 had given police more legal powers but urged them to be civil while exercising such powers.
He commended them for exercising maximum restraint during the protest, saying that without them, the country would have been in serious crisis.
He commiserated with families of police personnel who lost their lives during the nationwide protest and vowed that such protests would never happen again.
He continued: “We are special people and because of that, there are certain pressures we are supposed to absorb.
“You can be provoked but not expected to react in a negative way.
“If we are to end protest of this magnitude or any other one that comes, we have tools that the government, constitution and society give us and that is our firearms.
“You are not just carrying firearms for the sake of carrying it, you are to use it.
“So, if anybody comes, destroys government property, wants to kill innocent Nigerians or he puts your life in danger, use your firearms.
“When you are using your firearms, you are not supposed to kill but preserve lives and property.
“Use it to maim such individual. The intention is to incapacitate the person, not to kill him,” he said.
He said that the Federal Government had put a lot of things in place to improve the welfare of police personnel.
He told them that the upgrade of their welfare, as directed by President Muhammadu Buhari, would be harmonised this month.
In an address of welcome, the state Commissioner of Police, Mrs Janet Agbede, described the IGP’s visit as a motivator, capable of energising them and also igniting the desired spirit of consciousness in them.
Agbede said that the visit also re-awakened their low and dampened morale to get back to work.
She said that unlike other state commands, Abia did not experience EndSARS but the nefarious activities of the Independent People of Biafra (IPOB).
Agbede said that the IPOB group started attacking security agents in the state prior to EndSARS protest.
She said that the group snatched arms and ammunition from operatives, adding that some of them had been arrested and some weapons recovered from them.
The state police boss informed the IGP that the EndSARS protesters “gruesomely murdered two of our inspectors” and burnt a police post in the outskirts of Obingwa.
“In addition, the hoodlums attacked Onions Market, burnt many vehicles, while some lives were also lost.
“They went ahead to attack government facilities and banks in Aba area,” she said.