While millions of Nigerians have been wondering why hoodlums have been given a free reign to run riot over Lagos, Ilorin, Jos and many other cities without being checked by policemen, some senior serving officers have explained that most of them are reluctant to intervene following the widespread bashing from the same people they have been trying to protect in the past.
His revelation has shed light on the fact that despite the order of the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu for the deployment of Mobile Anti-riot units across the country – on the strength of the widespread destruction his order has largely been ignored.
However, clearly disturbed by the continued looting, Adamu yesterday gave fresh or- ders to the police hierarchy to reclaim the “public space’ and restore normalcy across the country.
However, one of the officers who will undoubtedly be one of those saddled with the responsibility of enforcing this latest directive and who spoke to Sunday Telegraph on condition of anonymity due to the sensitive nature of the matter, also said that the #EndSARS protest has introduced a new dimension to policing in Nigeria. He said: “It is clear that people do not like an average policeman.
The general condemnation is overwhelming and not encouraging. You attack his wife and children. Those who live outside the police facilities were traced to their houses and maimed.”
Explaining the main duty of the policeman and his role in the society, the officer said: “You are making peace for the people and not for yourself, you ask yourself what is at stake for you, when the people you are doing it for do not value your life. “It is total abandonment.
Your employer abandons you, the people you are supposed to be safe guarding abandons you when it matters most. “While everyone visits victims of the protests which turned violent, how many policemen who sustained injuries were visited?
“Policemen are the most vilified in the society, while we celebrate criminals who are now roaming the streets with guns. What have the police done to warrant such condemnation and revulsion?
“A mobile policeman was going to work he was hacked to death all due to hatred. It is only a madman that will fight for a man who does not value your life. Let everyone become a policeman and let them safeguard their community!”
Another source also explained that the IG’s admonition that the police officer should show restraint by not shooting indiscriminately further compounded things.
“The hoodlums were aware that they (police) had been instructed not to shoot anyhow and this emboldened them to do what they did.
“The honest truth is that considering the situation on ground it would have been hard for the policemen not to be trigger happy especially with threats to their lives.
“If the order hadn’t been given they would have shot which would have led to a lot of casualties so rather than be put in a situation where the person in question would have to start answering questions as to why he fired, they opted not to show up,” explained the source.