The Inspector-General of Police, Suleiman Abba, has cautioned police personnel against misuse of firearms during the forthcoming elections in the country.
Abba stated that arms would be used only in extreme circumstances, stressing that all police officers must protect the rights of citizens at all times.
Apparently refuting a statement credited to AIG Joseph Mbu, who said “If one of my men is killed, I shall kill 20 of them but don’t shoot first,” the police boss reassured the public that “the Nigeria Police has a mandate to save and protect lives, and not to kill, contrary to recent statements in the media.”
The IG said this during a meeting with senior policemen at the Force headquarters, Abuja, according to a statement by Force Public Relations Officer, Emmanuel Ojukwu, on Saturday.
“IG Suleiman Abba, advised all officers of the imperative necessity to apply caution in the use of firearms, warning that except in extreme circumstances, arms shall not be used during the forthcoming elections,” the statement read.
While admitting that there were circumstances under which an officer might be provoked in the course of duty, the IG stressed that the attributes of a police officer as contained in the Police Regulations, required him to exercise “tact, patience and tolerance and the control of his temper in trying situations.”
He observed that the rule of law is the underpinning tenet of democracy, which he noted would guide police officers in the discharge of their roles during the polls.
Abba restated his commitment to observance of the rule of law and the respect of the fundamental rights of citizens and residents alike by all police officers.
He cautioned officers to avoid excesses, pointing out the dire consequences of abuse of human rights as contained in the recently released Human Rights Practice Manual.
He also restated the preparedness of the Force to provide the requisite security before, during and after the elections.