The head of the Nigeria Police Force has described as “untrue” a report by rights group Amnesty International that the police violated human rights during the recent #EndSARS protests and ensuing violence in some parts of the country.
Anti-police brutality demonstrations erupted across the country early October but soon degenerated into cases of looting, arson and violence. The police were accused of using force to disperse peaceful protesters in some cities, including the capital, Abuja during initial demonstrations.
In a report released a day after the fatal shootings of peaceful protesters at Lekki toll gate in Lagos on October 20, Amnesty International detailed abuses by the Nigerian police and claimed that police personnel were involved in the Lekki shootings.
The Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, described the Amnesty International report as “untrue, misleading and contrary to all available empirical evidences.”
In a press statement on Friday, Adamu 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.
According to Adamu, 22 police personnel were extra-judicially killed by some rampaging protesters and scores injured during the anti-police brutality protests. 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,” Adamu said in the press release.
The IGP called on Amnesty International to “ensure they subject their reports to adequate scrutiny and proper verification of facts before making the reports public.”