Mohammed Adamu, inspector-general of police, has asked officers of the force to protect themselves against attacks.
Addressing them during an assessment tour of the federal capital territory (FCT) police command, the IGP said police officers are at liberty to defend themselves under life-threatening situations.
He praised the officers for exercising restraint, showing courage and maintaining law and order during the #EndSARS protest which he said was aimed at demoralising the police force.
He commiserated with those who lost loved ones during the chaos, adding that the force in collaboration with the federal government will compensate families of the deceased.
“The unity of this country lies in the support that is given to police officers because if you are demoralised, the tendency is for criminals to take over the public space and the country is relying on us to make sure that the public space is not taken over by the criminals. So no amount of provocation, no amount of insult would make us shy away from our responsibilities,” he said.
“I am here to commiserate with you. I saw how you went to deal with the difficult situation in order to maintain peace and order. This happened because of the #ENDSARS protests, which was supposed to be peaceful but turned violent.
“Despite all the attacks by protesters you went about to protect them. It became dangerous even for even police officers. Individuals were attacked and vehicles and property, destroyed. I thank you for showing restraint. You acted professionally. The aim was to demoralise you but you were exceptional.
“For those that lost their lives all over the country during the #ENDSARS protests, they will not die in vain. There will be adequate compensation for them in an extensive manner. They served the country at the expense of their lives.
“In as much as we are aware that the government is behind us; so, we would encourage you to keep performing your duties. We would encourage you to be professional, to be civic. But if anybody touches you, if anybody comes to assault you, you can also protect yourself.
“When we talk of human rights, the police are humans; so, the rights of police officers would also be protected. So, we are sending the message that legally, we have the right to protect ourselves.”