By Ayodele Oluwafemi
The Police have hit back at Amnesty International over its report alleging that security operatives shot at peaceful protesters, saying twenty-two policemen were killed during the violence.
Amnesty International, in its report of the recent #EndSARS protests accused the military and police of shooting at unarmed protesters who were demanding for an end to police brutality.
Reacting to AI report, the force, on Friday, in a statement by its spokesperson, Frank Mba claimed that the police acted “professionally, exercised commendable restraints” in their conduct during the protests.
Mba noted that 22 policemen paid the supreme price during the violence in some parts of the country, while 202 police stations were burnt down.
The spokesperson said, “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 evidences.
“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 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 human person.”