The Inspector-General of Police, Mr Mohammed Adamu, will on today begin visits to the police commands across the country to boost the morale of officers and men of the Nigeria Police Force.
The PUNCH on Thursday gathered that the morale of members of the force was low following the killing of no fewer than 28 policemen by hoodlums, who hijacked the #EndSARS protests that started in the country on October 8 and lasted for two weeks.
Findings showed that the police authorities were disturbed by the high level of dejection among policemen, hence the need for the IG to encourage them and boost their morale.
It was also learnt during the tour, the IG would assess the level of damage done by the hoodlums, who burnt police stations and looted government and private property.
These came to the fore on Thursday as many policemen, in separate interviews with The PUNCH, said they would not resume until government addressed the killing of their colleagues during the #EndSARS protests.
Following the shooting of peaceful #EndSARS protesters at Lekki, Lagos on October 20, hoodlums in states such as Lagos, Edo, Abia and Rivers looted and burnt police stations.
On Thursday, a top police officer, who confided in The PUNCH, said the police authorities were concerned about the low morale in the force following attacks on police stations and killing of policemen.
“The tour by the IG, which is starting in Abuja, is aimed at raising the morale of officers and men of the force many of whom are not happy that the police were blamed for almost all the problems of the country during the protests despite the fact all sectors have their bad eggs.
“We are not happy with the atrocities of SARS and other bad eggs in the force, but we are sad about the violent dimension the protest took. Many of those people killed were not hoodlums. Also, we lost fine officers and men, who were not found wanting on their duties. Our policemen are not happy that Nigerians are not concerned about the killing of policemen.”
The Deputy Force spokesman, Adeniran Aremu, told The PUNCH that the IG would on Friday (today) embark on an assessment of the security situation in Abuja.
Aremu disclosed in an SMS on Thursday that the IG would carry out an on-the-spot assessment of facilities and property destroyed by the hoodlums in Abuja, the nation’s capital.
“You’re invited to cover the on-the-spot assessment of security situation and some critical facilities in Abuja by the IGP,” he said in an invitation sent to one of our correspondents.
Over 600 hooligans said to have participated in the looting of COVID-19 palliatives at various warehouses at Jabi-Daki-biu, Idu Industrial Estate and Karimo, Abuja, and in other states have been arrested and arraigned.
During the tour, Adamu is expected to address men and officers of the Federal Capital Territory Police Command and encourage them against despondency.
But some members of the Nigeria Police have threatened not to respond to distress calls or enforce law and order across the country until the murder of their colleagues by suspected hoodlums was addressed by the authorities.
Some of the cops, who had been away from their duty posts for the last five days, accused the Federal Government and the police authorities of not caring about their safety and well being.
Senior officers, who spoke in separate interviews with one of our correspondents on Thursday, complained about the high number of their colleagues that were killed during the #EndSARS protests and the failure of the government and Nigerians to condemn the incident.
Findings by The PUNCH indicate that no fewer than 28 policemen were confirmed killed within one week in Lagos, Ogun, Oyo, Anambra, Ebonyi, Ondo, Delta, Abia and Rivers states.
Over 30 police stations and posts were also razed during the attack on the men of the force by thugs who hijacked the #EndSARS protests.
Investigations revealed that policemen had been absent from the roads, street junctions, black spots and other strategic points for the past five days despite a directive by the IG.
Lagos CP Promises Improved Multi-Agency Collaboration for Better Security in Lagos
The Commissioner of Police, Lagos State, CP Hakeem Odumosu, has assured the good people of Lagos State of improved and sustainable synergy among security agencies for better policing of the state.
CP Hakeem Odumosu gave the assurance today Friday 15th January 2021 at the 2021 Armed Forces Remembrance Day celebration that was held at Tafawa Balewa Square, Victoria Island, Lagos.
The Commissioner of Police, amongst other security chiefs in the state, assisted the Governor of Lagos State, Mr Babajide Sanwoolu, in performing the remembrance rites and laying of wreath accordingly. Others in attendance were the Deputy Governor of Lagos State, Prince Dr Femi Hamzat, the Secretary to the State Government, Mrs Folashade Jaji, top government functionaries, the State Chairman ,Nigerian Legion, Col S Akande (retd) and senior officers from the armed forces and the police.
The police boss, who doubles as the chairman of the Lagos State Security Council, seized the opportunity to pay tributes to the fallen heroes and admonish the gallant officers and men on the field, defending the territorial integrity and sovereignty of our beloved country, Nigeria, to be focused and patriotic as the present security challenges in the country are not insurmountable.
The Lagos police boss also appealed to Lagosians to always pray for security operatives, be law-abiding and embrace community-based policing as a civic responsibility.
Armed Forces Remembrance Day: Sanwo-Olu Commends Nation’s Security Officers
Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has commended all officers in the Military, Nigerian Police and the legion for their efforts in protecting the country against external aggression and keeping the peace internally.
Speaking at the year 2021 Armed Forces Remembrance Day parade and wreath laying ceremony at the Remembrance Arcade, Tafawa Balewa Square (TBS), Lagos on Friday, Governor Sanwo-Olu said Nigerians should be thankful to God for celebrating this year’s ceremony despite the COVID-19 pandemic.
Governor Sanwo-Olu while applauding the organisers of the programme, said despite the current situation of the COVID-19 pandemic in Nigeria and other parts of the world, they could keep up with the yearly ritual while adhering to safety protocols.
He said: “It is usually a yearly ceremony and we are thankful that this year’s ceremony could still be observed.
“I want to congratulate and commend all of our officers in the military and also the Nigerian Police, but more especially men of the Legion and everybody that has participated in this year’s Armed Forces Remembrance ceremony, the parade, men on guard and everything.
“I think it has been a testimonial and it is a yearly ritual that we are thankful to God that we can still keep this year’s activity as important as it is. We were still able to observe all of the protocols and you could see that everything has gone very well. It is just a one hour event and we are thankful for the organisers that they have been able to put this together again.”
Governor Sanwo-Olu during the Armed Forces Remembrance Day laid the wreath at the arcade and also released white pigeons and balloons into the air.
Deputy Governor of Lagos State, Dr. Obafemi Hamzat; Secretary to the Lagos State Government (SSG), Mrs Folasade Jaji; Service Commanders; State Chairman of Nigeria Legion and other dignitaries also laid the wreath during the ceremony in memory of the falling heroes.
The event was attended by service chiefs and members of the State Executive Council.
Kukah Has Offended People, But Should Not Be Expelled from Sokoto, Presidency Tells Islamic Group
The presidency has chided an Islamic group over its criticism and veiled threat against the Catholic Bishop of Sokoto Diocese, Matthew Kukah, over a recent controversial message he issued during Christmas.
The Islamic group, Muslim Solidarity Forum, had asked the outspoken cleric to tender apology to Muslims in the state “or leave the state” over his controversial Christmas message.
The clergyman in his Christmas message titled: “A Nation in search of vindication” alleged that President Muhammadu Buhari was not living up to expectations due to the various economic and security challenges affecting the country.
He also alleged that Mr Buhari was “institutionalising northern hegemony against national interests,” adding that if a Southern Christian president had practised such nepotism, there would have been a military coup in Nigeria.
The statement, however, triggered controversy as, for instance, a Muslim group described the bishop’s sermon as “irresponsible and seditious.”
Islamic group, Jama’atu Nasril Islam (JNI) had said Mr Kukah’s message “was a prepared address considering the occasion and the audience, one cannot but agree that it was a calculated attempt to insult Islam which is typical of him. His veiled insinuation that Muslims have a pool of violence to draw from, is disgusting, disheartening, as well as condemnable.”
In response to that, the bishop responded saying JNI was inciting violence against him.
Also, the Muslim Solidarity Forum (MSF), warned the cleric to “quickly and quietly leave” Sokoto, the Seat of the Caliphate.
MSF through its acting chairman, Isah Maishanu, said Mr Kukah’s “innuendos and parables” in his speeches were against Islam and its adherents, adding that they were provocative.
However, the presidency has waded into the face off via a statement signed by Garba Shehu, the spokesperson of President Buhari.
Mr Shehu said: “under Nigeria’s Constitution, every citizen has the right to, among others, freedom of speech and expression, the right to own property and reside in any part of the country, and the right to move freely without any inhibitions,” in a bid to defend the cleric’s rights.
“Nigeria’s strength lies in its diversity. The right for all religions to co-exist is enshrined in this country’s Constitution. The duty of the government, more so, this democratic government, is to ensure that the Constitution is respected. But all must respect the rights and sensitivities of their fellow Nigerians.
“Father Kukah has greatly offended many with his controversial remarks against the government and the person of the President, with some even accusing him of voicing anti-Islamic rhetoric.
“On matters such as these, responsible leadership in any society must exercise restraint. Knee-jerk reactions will not only cause the fraying of enduring relationships, but also the evisceration of peaceful communities such as Sokoto, the headquarters of the Muslim community as beacon of pluralism and tolerance. The Sultanate has historically had good relations with followers of all faiths. That is why Father Kukah was received on his arrival in Sokoto with friendship and tolerance,” Mr Shehu said.
“Under our laws, groups or factions must not give quit notices, neither should they unilaterally sanction any perceived breaches. Where they occur, it is the courts of law that should adjudicate. Unilateral action is not the way to go.
“Groups such as the Muslim Solidarity Forum must be seen to share and uphold the country’s multi-religious principles. And individuals like Father Kukah must respect the feelings of his fellow Nigerians in his private and public utterances,” he added.