By Biola Adebayo
The Nigerian Police Force says 22 police personnel were killed and many others injured during the #ENDSARS protests.
Force Public Relations Officer, DCP Frank Mba said in a statement on Friday that many others were inflicted with life-threatening injuries while 205 police stations and formations were burnt.
Frank Mba, in the statement, informed that other critical private and public infrastructure were also damaged by hoodlums who hijacked the protests.
It said despite these unprovoked attacks, their officers never resorted to use of unlawful force or shooting at the protesters.
It denied a report by Amnesty International that protesters were shot at, saying they acted professionally, exercised commendable restraints and some paid the supreme price during the protests.
It read: “The Inspector-General of Police, IGP M. A. Adamu, NPM, mni 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.
“The IGP made this observation following report by Amnesty International dated 21st October 2020 that Police personnel shot at peaceful protesters. 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 in a peaceful manner 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 use of 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.”