By Emmanuel Udom
Inspector General of Police (IGP), Usman Alkali Baba, Wednesday in Lagos, talked tough, warning police officers nationwide to resist armed hoodlums that plan to their stations.
It could be recalled that 16 police stations and 13 police posts were set ablaze by hoodlums in Lagos, with an estimated population of 20 million people, manned by about 18,000 police workforce, in the aftermath of the #EndSARS protests last October.
Also, six policemen were killed in the attacks, 106 cops were injured while 62 patrol vehicles were burnt and some vandalised.
Speaking during his maiden visit to the Lagos state police command, in Ikeja GRA, the new police chief however promised to kit officers with anti-riot equipment, arms and ammunition as well as other weapons needed for effective policing through the Police Trust Fund (PTF).
Baba said “When officers serving under you display courage, zeal and commitment, you need to encourage them. On the other hand, those who commit disciplinary offences must be punished so that other will see it as deterrence.
“The service can no longer tolerate acts of indiscipline, which is well known to us. We must do the needful to be able to carry on with our job. One area that we need to improve on is the issue of crowd control, riots, so that you would go back with the agreed or accepted norms of discharging this responsibility.
“You must also control the use of firearms. As commanders, you need to lecture your men and remind them when issuing rifles of the kind of situations they are to use them. You must also guard against the rifles being snatched or being carelessly handled.
“We must also be civil in the discharge of our responsibilities at all times. Never again should we allow our stations and our personnel to be sacked by hoodlums wielding guns, sticks and machetes to the extent that we would not be able to handle situations that can easily be handled because of lack of professionalism or cowardice.
“We must do in-house training. We must remind ourselves of the laws, the powers in the laws that we have and how we can discharge them.”