Inspector-General of Police (IGP) Mohammed Adamu has asked police operatives to return to their duty posts.
He asked them not to leave the public space open for criminals to take charge.
He insisted the #EndSARS protests later hijacked by hoodlums were caused by fake news.
Adamu stated these while addressing police officers at the Edo headquarters in the Government Reservation Area (GRA) Benin during a working visit to boost their morale after inspecting burnt police stations in Edo.
The IGP was accompanied by Edo Deputy Governor Philip Shaibu; Assistant Inspector-General of Police (AIG) Zone 5, Shola David, and Commissioner of Police Babatunde Kokumo.
He said: “The attacks on the police and police stations were to demoralise you (policemen) to humiliate you and to make you feel that you do not have support at all in the members of the public, but it is not the case.
Policemen are special breeds in this country because they are specially trained to do the duties that other people are not able to do.
That is why despite all these attacks on you, you absorbed them, you came out and you are doing your lawful duties of maintaining law and order, and making sure that crimes are not committed within the society.
“I encourage you to continue to do that. Do not be demoralised. You do not need to leave the public space open for criminals to take charge. You need to occupy everywhere.”
Adamu also stated despite the #EndSARS protests and attacks on the police, they also got open support from President Muhammadu Buhari while urging them to be resilient.
He said: “Do not forget Force Order 237. Read and digest it very well and know when you should use firearms. Use your firearms in a lawful manner, because you are law-enforcement agents.
‘’One of the demands was that SARS should be disbanded. After the protests for about five days, we sat down with them and we disbanded SARS.
“The Federal Government met their five demands. The expectation was that the protests should end and the protesters were supposed to leave the streets, but they did not.
The consequence of not leaving the streets is what we have seen. Hoodlums and some elements within the #EndSARS protests became violent, targeting the police, police institutions, and police stations.
“The violence did not stop in one state. It went to 14 different states. In all the 14 states, it was the same story. In the Southwestern part, especially Lagos State, and in the South-South zone, Edo and Delta States, we had attacks on police stations.
“In Lagos State, it was so terrible that private property was destroyed. Vehicles for public use were destroyed. Houses of individuals and their families were destroyed. This is very unfortunate.”