By Ugochukwu Alaribe – Umuahia
Following the death of two policemen serving in the Abia State Command during the EndSARS protest, the Commissioner of Police in the state, Mrs Janet Agbede, has assured that the families of the victims would be compensated.
Agbede who gave the assurance during the visit of the Inspector General of Police’s committee on the assessment of police facilities destroyed during the protest in Aba, said two policemen were killed while the former zone 6 police annex, 7 patrol vans and several cars belonging to policemen were burnt in the city.
The CP, who was represented by the Command’s Police Public Relations Officer, SP Geoffrey Ogbonna, explained that the police had met with relations of the deceased and would not abandon them, stressing that the visit shows that the IGP and the Police management team are not happy with the events of the EndSARS protest.
“We accompanied the committee set up by the Inspector General of Police, going round the states for an on the spot assessment of police facilities destroyed during the EndSARS protest.
“They inspected the defunct zone 6 annexes that accommodated the Police Dragon and monitoring units and vehicles which were set ablaze. This is where we lost one of our inspectors, Frank Okoye who was killed at the heat of the protest.
“We have also met with the relations of the deceased. The needful is being done waiting for the next line of action. The visit shows that the IGP is not happy with what happened during the EndSARS protest. He is really poised to ensure that the families of the deceased policemen are compensated. Hopefully, the police facilities including those of police personnel that were burnt during the protest will also get their compensation.
Asked to quantify the loss suffered by the police in Aba, the CP said; “I can’t quantify the loss the Police suffered in Aba, but if you know the structure on the ground before it was burnt, you will be able to make an estimate. We have 7 patrol vans that were burnt in Aba. Many vehicles belonging to police officers were burnt. We also lost two policemen to the protest.
He stated that the Police in the state Command have resumed duties and urged residents to volunteer timely information about suspected criminals to the Police.
“The fact was that when the people you are working for are after you, you must have a rethink and you must protect yourself before you protect others. You can only protect another person when you are safe. Police need credible information to work efficiently. Security is a collective responsibility. We don’t have enough policemen to police Nigeria. When you compare the number of policemen we have with the United Nations provision, you will appreciate the fact that we don’t have enough policemen.
“Before the EndSARS protest, there was a call for mop-up of arms and ammunition. The police have been calling on residents to return illegal firearms in their possession. We are also calling on the public to report suspected movements to the police because these criminals live with us.”
The CP further commended the setting up of a panel of inquiry on police brutality and extrajudicial killings by the Abia State government, noting that it would help to remind policemen that they would be held responsible for their actions in the course of their duties.