The Nigeria Police Force has denied reports by Amnesty International that its operatives opened fire on protesters in parts of Lagos, resulting in the death of no fewer than 10 persons.
The Inspector-General of Police, IGP Mohammed Adamu made the rebuttal on Friday in response to the report by Amnesty International dated 21st of October, 2020.
The group had in the said report, alleged that “an on-the-ground investigation confirmed that the Nigerian army and policemen from the Rapid Response Squad (RRS) Unit, killed at least 12 peaceful protesters at two locations in Lagos, namely- Lekki and Alausa, where thousands were protesting police brutality as part of the #EndSars movement.”
It warned that opening fire on peaceful protesters is a blatant violation of people’s rights to life, dignity, freedom of expression and peaceful assembly.
But in statement issued today by the Force Public Relations Officer, Frank Mba, the IGP maintained that officers of the NPF 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.
He described the Amnesty Int’l report as untrue, misleading and contrary to all available empirical evidences.
“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. 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.
“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,” the statement averred.
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, enjoined Amnesty International to ensure they subject their reports to adequate scrutiny and proper verification of facts before making the reports public.