The protests started early in October to demand the scrapping of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) of the Police Force over years of extra-judicial activities.
The mostly peaceful protests were marked by violence from thugs, who tried to hijack the demonstrations, and police officers who aggressively pushed back against protesters.
Jimoh Isiaq, killed in Ogbomoso, Oyo State, and at least 14 other protesters were believed to have been killed by police officers in just over a week of the protests.
Two police officers were also reported to have been killed in Delta and Lagos State as a result of the protests, before an escalation of violence last week resorted in attacks on police officers and police formations by thugs who carried out mostly retaliatory attacks.
Despite the reported fatalities, Adamu said in a statement on Friday, October 30, 2020 that officers exercised commendable restraints.
The IGP’s statement was in response to a report by human rights watchdog, Amnesty International, which alleged that police officers killed peaceful protesters.
The police boss described the report as ‘untrue, misleading, and contrary to all available empirical evidences’.
He claimed that officers used legitimate means to ensure that the protests were carried out in a peaceful manner.
“He (Adamu) reiterated that 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,” a statement by Force spokesperson, Frank Mba, said.
The IGP also claimed that a total of 22 police officers were extra-judicially killed by ‘some rampaging protesters’, noting that many injured officers are also in life threatening conditions at hospitals.
205 police stations and formations were also damaged, according to the IGP.
“Despite these unprovoked attacks, our police officers never resorted to use of unlawful force or shooting at the protesters as alleged in the report,” the statement said.
The IGP knocked Amnesty for not acknowledging the death of the police officers who he said were murdered while serving their fatherland.
“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 read.