MOHAMMED Adamu, the Inspector General of Police (IGP) has directed his officers in a suspected secret memo to deploy “lawful” force when managing riot incidents across the country.
He gave the directive in a letter dated Friday November 6.
The signal is born on an official letterhead displaying name and stamp of the Office of the Inspector General of Police and its address at Louis Edet House, Force Headquarters, Abuja.
Commiserating with families of officers who lost their lives during the last nationwide demonstrations, the IGP reminded the police that the order is in line with the constitutional mandate of the force.
It is titled, Order and Directives Enforcement of the Provisions of CAP. IV. Section 33 (1) & (2) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 199 (As Amended) in Responding to Riots and Other Violent Internal and Personal Security Threats.
The letter was signed by the IGP on Friday, November 6 with a reference number CB:/4001/IGP.SEC/ABJ/VOL. 116/31, copying the deputy inspectors-general of police, assistant inspectors-general of police at the zonal headquarters, commissioners of Police aat various state command headquarters and commandants at the police colleges
“You are all encouraged to, henceforth, deploy all reasonable force to protect lives and property including your lives from any violent person or group operating under any guise,” the memo reads in part.
“You are similarly directed to deploy all reasonable force as authorised by the constitution in defending public and private assets including police stations and other operational assets from any form of looting, arson or vandalism by any riotous element or groups.”
This is coming almost 24 hours after the #EndSARS demonstration carried out at the National Assembly (NASS) entrance, Abuja. Police operatives eventually disrupted the protest and made some arrests.
Earlier #EndSARS protest across the country had claimed the lives of both police officers and unconfirmed scores of civilians.
The protest, later hijacked by hoodlums resulted in the looting of government and private offices as well as the destruction of properties.
“…as Police officers, you are legitimately obligated to deploy lethal force in managing internal security threats,” Adamu stressed further in the secret letter.
Meanwhile, Section 33 (1) & (2) of the Nigerian constitution referenced by the IGP promotes the right to life.
Part 1 says, “Every person has a right to life, and no one shall be deprived intentionally of his life, save in execution of the sentence of a court in respect of a criminal offence of which he has been found guilty in Nigeria.”
“A person shall not be regarded as having been deprived of his life in contravention of this section, if he dies as a result of the use, to such extent and in such circumstances, as are permitted by law, of such force as is reasonably necessary – (a) for the defence of any person from unlawful violence or for the defence of property: (b)in order to effect a lawful arrest or to prevent the escape of a person lawfully detained; or (c)for the purpose of suppressing a riot, insurrection or mutiny.
To verify the authenticity of the leaked memo, Frank Mba, the Police Spokesperson was contacted by The ICIR but he did not respond to message sent to his line as of the time of filing this report.
The Police later confirmed the leaked letter through its verified handle @PoliceNG.