LAGOS — Nigerian police has condemned as untrue and misleading a recent Amnesty International report that accused its personnel of human rights violations during recent protests against police brutality in some parts of the country.
In a statement sent to Xinhua in Lagos on Friday, Nigerian Police Inspector General Mohammed Adamu said police officers acted professionally, exercised commendable restraints and some “paid the supreme price” for peace in Nigeria.
Amnesty International report on Wednesday accused Nigerian police of shooting at peaceful protesters. That report was misleading and contrary to all available empirical evidence, the police chief said. Adamu said police officers used legitimate means to ensure that the protests were carried out peacefully and in most cases, physically protected and walked side-by-side with the protesters. 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 situation, he said.
The police chief said 22 police personnel were killed by some rampaging protesters and scores of others were injured, some critically, during the protests.
He said 205 police stations and some private and public infrastructure were damaged in the protests. “Despite these unprovoked attacks, our police officers never resorted to the use of unlawful force or shooting at the protesters as alleged in the report,” the police chief said. Violence has been reported in several cities in the country as suspected “hoodlums” blamed by the government reportedly took control of the otherwise peaceful protests by citizens calling for extensive reform of the police since early October.
A total of 69 people, including civilians, policemen, and soldiers, were killed during protests across the country, a government spokesperson told Xinhua last Friday after President Muhammadu Buhari held an emergency meeting aimed at finding ways to end the unrest.