Soldiers and police personnel being deployed immediately across the country to stop the ongoing wanton destruction of public and private property by vandals and looters have been told to apply “moderate force” where necessary.
The Presidency made this known last night even as the Police Inspector General, Mohammed Adamu, ordered the immediate mobilization of all police operational assets and resources to bring to an end the wanton violence, killings, looting and destruction of public and private property triggered by the #ENDSARS protests.
Over 2,000 convicted criminals and suspects facing trial are currently on the loose across the country after they were set free by hoodlums who forced open the gates of three prisons in Edo and Ondo states.
The 2,000 exclude detained suspects who were also set free when hoodlums attacked police stations in some states.
No fewer than 10 police stations were attacked in Lagos alone.
Many Nigerians are apprehensive about the danger posed by the fleeing criminals and suspects.
The deployment of soldiers and policemen, sources said last night, was one of the resolutions reached between President Muhammadu Buhari and his predecessors during their Friday virtual meeting.
It was gathered that the free reign enjoyed by hoodlums and looters who hijacked the #ENDSARS protests was possible because the military had no clear directive to intervene.
“Don’t forget we could not have just jumped into the arena and draw operational directives for ourselves. We act on orders and not sentiments and not even under pressure from anyone. We stand our ground no matter what,” a military source said.
The source added: “But I can tell you confidently that as at this morning (yesterday), we have received the necessary order and directive to deal decisively and apply moderate force to stop any form of act that will infringe on the rights of others.
“We could not do much because we were handicapped in the face of all atrocities. But this time around, we shall be decisive because it is clear now that criminals have taken over from supposedly genuine protesters.”
Buoyed by the directive, the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu has already sent signals to all police commands and formations to reclaim the public space.
Aside the police, all military formations across the country had, as at the morning of Saturday, October 24, 2020, received signals to that effect.
A military source who preferred anonymity confided in our correspondent that the lukewarm attitude of the military as the carnage raged in Lagos and other cities, especially in the Southwest was because there was no clear directive to deal decisively with hoodlums.