By Abdullahi M. Gulloma
The Inspector General of Police (IGP), Mr. Idris Ibrahim has justified the killings of some members of the Shiite Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN) during a clash with police in Kano on Monday.
Speaking to State House correspondents yesterday after the launch of the 2017 Armed Forces Remembrance Day Emblem, the IGP said the method deployed by the police should be appreciated because the protesters were armed to the teeth, thereby killing police officers.
Asked if there were no ways of quelling riot without killing Nigerians unnecessarily, the IGP said: “I agree with what you said, but when you have Nigerians armed to the teeth, killing police officers, I don’t think it happens anywhere. I think as Nigerians, we have to appreciate, when you appreciate a dangerous situation, and to be sympathetic with the police that are being killed by some of these miscreants.
“Obviously from time to time, we have been experiencing upheavals from this set of people. As police officers, we have responsibility to ensure there is law and order and when you have people taking over the whole country, dominating streets and buildings, we have to come in to maintain sanity in those areas.
“As of early yesterday (Monday), we got information that they were trying to block Kano to Zaria road. They later assembled in large numbers and our officers were deployed to the place to ensure freedom of movement of ordinary Nigerians.
They attacked our officers, killed one of our officers one has sustained an arrow wound on his head and obviously in such a situation, police have the responsilitity to ensure free movement of people on the road. And that was what our officers did.
“Obviously, it is. Whether now or whenever, as police officers we have a responsibility to ensure there is law and order in any part of this country and to ensure that no organisation or individual should constitute themselves into a government, block passages and buildings.”
On the constitutional rights to freedom of movement in the country, the IGP said members of the Shiite movement were blocking the public roads, and not exercising their rights to freedom of movement.
“What happens is that there is nothing like freedom there. When you worship, you go to mosques or churches. Blocking highways and passages doesn’t constitute part of worship. My message to Nigerians is that all of us should be our brother’s keepers. We should appreciate the feeling of others that where your right ends, another person’s right begins. Every Nigerian has a right that must be protected. We should ensure we protect the rights of ever individuals: right of freedom, right of association and right of movement,” he said.