Adelani Adepegba, Abuja
The chairman, the Police Service Commission, Musiliu Smith, attributed the #EndSARS protests to the misconduct of Nigerian police officers.
Smith, a former inspector general of police, described the level of misconduct in the police saying that his office was always flooded with complaints from Nigerians.
The PSC chairman said this at a retreat with IG and his police team in Abuja on Tuesday.
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Smith’s statement contradicted claims by Information and Culture Minister Lai Mohammed that the October protests were fueled by political and religious leaders.
He also said that the demonstrations, which were subsequently abducted by vagrants that led to widespread violence and looting, were aimed at overthrowing the Federal Government.
But, breaking through these claims in his first public comment on the incident, the retired IG said, “We always have a lot of complaints from public representatives about police officers. I believe #EndSARS is the result of a serious violation by one of our staff.
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“I would like to advise you to reconsider the arrangements we are making to investigate such cases. Let us ensure that investigations are conducted thoroughly and that anyone who is a police officer against whom an indictment has been filed is punished in accordance with the law. If we do that, some of the public complaints will be reduced. ”
Smith, who was at loggerheads with the police leadership over the recruitment of police officers, also warned IG Mohammed Adamu to work closely with the commission to recruit credible Nigerians into the force.
Smith added that the number of lawsuits against the police is alarming, stressing that the force may not be able to pay the damages awarded to it.
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In its earlier remark, the IGP noted that the withdrawal was intended to bridge the communication gap and create a better understanding and working relationship between the forces and the police service commission.
Federation Chief Prosecutor and SAN Justice Minister Abubukar Malami, who also spoke at the withdrawal, relied on the need for a harmonious working relationship between all government agencies.