The Federal Government has said respect for human rights should not be selective and therefore call on citizens not to victimize men of the Nigeria Police Force and other security agencies.
The call was made by the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, on Friday while meeting with Title Editors of Nigerian newspapers in Lagos.
He urged the public to empathize with and appreciate personnel of the Nigeria Police Force and other security agencies and resist the temptation of belittling their roles and deposition.
This follows the aftermath of the #EndSARS protest that took most members of the police force off the streets.
According to the minister: “Today, many of them are even afraid to wear their uniforms and the result has not been pleasant, in terms of security of life and property.
“I want to remind all of us of the saying that a society that makes war against its police had better learned to make friends with its criminals”
The minister, however, said that the media and civil society groups paid less attention to the barbaric and gruesome killings of security agents by hoodlums during the Endsars crisis. He recalled that six soldiers and 37 policemen were killed across the country during the crisis.
According to him, while 196 policemen were injured, 164 police vehicles were destroyed, with 134 police stations burnt.
Mohammed added that the violence left 57 civilians dead, 269 private/corporate facilities burnt/looted/vandalized, 243 government facilities burnt/vandalized and 81 government warehouses looted.
In addition to the killing of security agents, Mohammed said eight medium-security custodial centers in six states – Edo, Lagos, Abia, Delta, Ondo, and Ebonyi were attacked.
The attacks, he said, led to 1,957 inmates, most dangerous criminals, being set free.
He added that with the burning of police stations by hoodlums, over 100 AK-47 rifles were stolen.
“While everyone was fixated on the fake massacre at Lekki Toll Gate, a few paid attention to the way and manner policemen and soldiers were killed.
“In particular, policemen were hacked down in the most gruesome manner that calls into question the sanity of their killers.
“Yet, these security agents were treated as sub-humans,” he said.
Mohammed noted that no life was more important than the other, adding that respect for human rights should not be selective.
He, however, commended state governments that had taken bold steps to shore up the morale of the police.
Recall that Laid Muhammad had condemned the Lekki Tollgate killing, insisting that no life was lost admits viral video on social media which reported killings. He had also condemned a CNN documentary of the event, describing it as misleading on claims that the report relied on unverified and doctored videos and asked the international community not to be misled by posts on social media.