Mohammed Adamu, inspector-general of police (IGP), says fake news triggered the #EndSARS protests.
In October, young persons across the country trooped to the streets to demand an end to police brutality and to also demand “good governance”.
The protesters were dispersed after two weeks and there was widespread violence.
Speaking during a visit to the headquarters of the Ebonyi police command on Tuesday, Adamu alleged that the #EndSARS protesters had ulterior motive.
He said the police would never allow such protest to hold in any part of the country again, advising his men to open fire when in danger.
“The EndSARS protests started as a result of fake news provided by the social media. There have been lots of reforms putt in place,” he said.
“The EndSARS protests started from Delta and spread to Lagos and other parts of the country. The motive behind the protests was not to End SARS but to attack government. Police provided them cover but their aim was not peaceful protest as it turned violent few days after. The reason was to attack the police that can protect the citizens and corporate offices in the country.
“Police has the capability to prevent loss of lives. We are meant to protect and not to destroy lives. It was through maximum restraint we saved the country from anarchy. We proved that during the protests, the police can be trusted.”
Adamu said President Muhammadu Buhari and governors declared support for the police during the crisis because they knew that the force was on top of the situation.
The IGP added that the officers who were killed during the protests did not die in vain, saying they had been promoted.
He urged police officers not to be demoralised by the attacks suffered during the crisis.
“The president supported the police and the Governor’s forum, saying that we love our police. What happened because of attack on police, has the tendency for the police to be demoralized as Banks, companies, private and public properties were destroyed,” he said.
“Other sectors were attacked; police was not only the worse hit. Nigeria police will never again accept such type of violent protest. If you want to protest we will provide security but it should be within the law.
“We shall suppress violent protests with maximum force and follow the rules of engagement. Police officers are special breed of Nigerians specially trained. When your life is danger, you use your fire arm. You are meant to maim and not to kill that person.
“The officers that died did not die in vain. We have promoted them and look into the issue of compensation. Welfare issues will be addressed including myself. We have health insurance scheme.
“In January, 2021, there will be renovation of barracks and new ones will be built. Let us not be demoralized. Follow the rules of engagement. Go out with the authority that backs you in line with the constitution.”