A former Inspector General of Police, Mr. Solomon Arase, has expressed disappointment at the #EndSARS probe panel report of the Justice Doris Okuwobi-led Lagos Judicial Panel of Inquiry set up to look into police brutality and issues surrounding the Lekki Toll Gate saga which took place in October 2020.
According to the findings of the panel that was leaked to the public, there were 48 cases of shootings at the Toll Gate which led to the death of 11 persons, while four persons were said to be four missing and presumed dead, and many others suffered gunshot injury and severe assault.
And while many have applauded the panel, many, including the Lagos State Government, as contained in their White Paper, faulted the findings contained in the report.
Mr. Arase, who spoke in Lagos State, at the weekend, at an event organised by the Naija Police & U team, decried the neglect of the plights of the families of policemen that were killed by the mob, and the psychological damage of officers that witnessed the destruction of their police stations, plus the killing of their colleagues.
According to him, “I was not happy with the EndSARS panel report. We had a retired DIG in that panel, so I expected that he should have also called for statistics, to know how many policemen were killed, how many stations were burnt or vandalised, and how many vehicles were destroyed.
“While we are thinking about making restitution to members of the public, what of the policemen who died. Who really cares? That is my grouse with the report of the Judicial Panels.
“I believe they should have taken a second look at the policemen and stations that are victims of the EndSARS tragedy. We all are human beings, and have a right to life as enshrined in the Constitution,” the former police boss added.
Arase while speaking on the topic, ‘Our Police In Challenging Times: Who Really Cares’, revealed statistics of how the police were affected by the EndSARS calamity.
Arase continued, “Between November 2021 – October 2021, 120 police officers paid the supreme sacrifice in the discharge of their statutory mandate in relation to the enhancement of the community peace and security, while 200 others sustained varying degrees of injuries.
“Similarly, between 8th and 30th October 2020, a total of 134 police stations were burnt and vandalized, while a total of 164 police vehicles were destroyed and burnt.”
To ensure a better police force, Arase urged government authorities to address the welfare of the policemen, most especially to the rank-and-file.
“In spite of the inherent hostile environment and sundry challenges, the Nigeria Police has remained steadfast to its responsibility of guaranteeing the safety of the lives and property of the citizens even at the risk of their own lives.
“It is true Nigerians get pissed off by some of their alleged accesses of the officers at the rank-and-file level, but if we can get those groups well taken care of, we’ll discover that our law enforcement policies would be better driven and managed,” he said.