PRESIDENCY ORDERS ARMY, POLICE TO QUELL LOOTING, DESTRUCTION OF PROPERTIES WITH MINIMUM FORCE

By Nicholas Kalu, Abuja/Innocent Duru

  • Police deploy operational assets to check wanton looting, destruction nationwide
  • Enough is enough, says IGP

Soldiers and police personnel are being deployed immediately across the country on the orders of the Presidency to stop the ongoing wanton destruction of public and private property by vandals and looters.

They are to apply “moderate force” where necessary, The Nation gathered authoritatively Saturday night.

Consequently, Police Inspector General Mohammed Adamu ordered the immediate mobilization of all police operational assets and resources to bring to an end the wanton violence, killings, looting and destruction of public and private property triggered by the #ENDSARS protests.

Over 2,000 convicted criminals and suspects facing trial are currently on the loose across the country after they were set free by hoodlums who forced open the gates of three prisons in Edo and Ondo states.

The 2,000 exclude detained suspects who were also set free when hoodlums attacked police stations in some states.

No fewer than 10 police stations were attacked in Lagos alone.

Many Nigerians are apprehensive about the danger posed by the fleeing criminals and suspects.

The deployment of soldiers and policemen, sources said last night, was one of the resolutions reached between President Muhammadu Buhari and his predecessors during their Friday virtual meeting.

It was gathered that the free reign enjoyed by hoodlums and looters who hijacked the #ENDSARS protests was possible because the military had no clear directive to intervene.

“Don’t forget we could not have just jumped into the arena and draw operational directives for ourselves. We act on orders and not sentiments and not even under pressure from anyone. We stand our ground no matter what,” a military source said.

The source added: “But I can tell you confidently that as at this morning (yesterday), we have received the necessary order and directive to deal decisively and apply moderate force to stop any form of act that will infringe on the rights of others.

“We could not do much because we were handicapped in the face of all atrocities. But this time around, we shall be decisive because it is clear now that criminals have taken over from supposedly genuine protesters.”

Buoyed by the directive, the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu has already sent signals to all police commands and formations to reclaim the public space.

Aside the Police, all military formations across the country had, as at the morning of Saturday, October 24, 2020, received signals to that effect.

A military source who preferred anonymity confided in our correspondent that the lukewarm attitude of the military as the carnage raged in Lagos and other cities, especially in the Southwest was because there was no clear directive to deal decisively with hoodlums.

IGP orders mobilization of police operational assets

On his part, the Inspector General of Police said it was time to “bring an end to the wanton violence, killings, looting and destruction of public and private property and reclaim the public space from criminal elements masquerading as protesters in some parts of the country.”

Chief spokesman of the Police, Frank Mba, said: “The IGP gave the order to all Assistant Inspectors General of Police (AIGs), Commissioners of Police (CPs), Heads of Police Operational Units, Squadron and Base Commanders in charge of Zonal/State/FCT Commands, the Police Mobile Force, Counter Terrorism Unit and the Special Protection Unit, today 24th October, 2020.

“In addition, CPs/Heads of Police Formations in the various states have also been charged to mobilize their men and work in sync with the Command CPs in the areas where they are domiciled, to dominate the public space and ensure peace and safety in the affected areas.

“The IGP, while noting that enough is enough to all acts of lawlessness, disruption of public peace and order and wanton violence which have resulted to indiscriminate looting of shops, malls and ware houses, damage to property and loss of lives in some parts of the country, further directs the Police strategic managers to personally lead and coordinate the operation and use all legitimate means, to halt further slide into lawlessness and brigandage.

“The IGP enjoins law-abiding citizens not to panic but rather join forces with the police and other members of the law enforcement community to protect their communities from the criminal elements.

“He further calls for the understanding and cooperation of the citizens assuring that the action is geared towards ensuring public order and safety and public security in our communities.

“The IGP however warns trouble-makers not to test the collective will of the nation by coming out to cause any further breakdown of law and order.”

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