X-ray loopholes from security experts making police stations easy targets for thugs
Insists that the Oct. 21 arson was well-coordinated, premeditated attacks on law enforcement agencies
Regrets that the police officers have become internally displaced, recommends future forms of prevention
By Evelyn Usman
Dr. Ona Ekhomu is the national president of the Nigerian Association of Industrial Safety and Security Operators, AISSON. The renowned security expert was a guest speaker at a workshop organized by the Deputy Inspector General of Police in charge of zone 2 commands, AIG Ahmed Iliyasu, in collaboration with the Police Community Relations Committee, PCRC Isla Victoria.
The workshop was designed to work on the psychology of the men and officers of the zonal command that includes the Lagos and Ogun State Police Commands, in line with the directive of the Inspector General of Police, IGP Mohammed Adamu, to the police officers to be take over public space by increasing security. and security throughout the country.
Ekhomu, in his article titled “Massive #EndSARS Action and Internal Security Governance in Lagos”, made an X-ray of the recent massive action taken by thugs who hijacked the #EndSARS protest and revealed the loopholes that rioters exploited to break formations police. . He also reported how 12 police officers who faced more than 300 rioters were overwhelmed.
The attacks “Southern Nigeria was hit hard by the rampant acts of violence unleashed by thugs after the Lekki shootings of October 20, 2020. Rioters looted, burned, looted, vandalized, damaged and destroyed assets in Lagos and other state. The difficult events of October 21-22, 2020 almost metaphorically brought the southern part of Nigeria to its knees. Aside from attacks on properties and trophy buildings such as the Igbosere court complex, the Nigerian Port Authority headquarters building and banks in Lagos state, rioters targeted police facilities and personnel. .
Police as a target
The October 21-22, 2020 attacks on police across southern Nigeria were historic and unprecedented. The pattern of attacks, the ferocity of the attacks, and the frequency of attacks on police personnel, police stations, and police cars would lead me to conclude that the massive action was, in effect, an attack on the police agency. Although correctional facilities, COVID-19 palliative stores, and some politicians’ homes were targeted, the main target of the rioters was police personnel, police facilities, and the police mission.
Looted weapons, ammunition
“The rioters also stole a large number of AK47 rifles and other weapons from police stations, arming themselves and posing a serious threat to society. It is a known fact that insecurity in Nigeria is exacerbated by the proliferation of illicit weapons and small arms and light weapons in the West African subregion. The loss of hundreds of police rifles to the rioters is clearly a worsening or exacerbation of the proliferation of weapons in the country. At the peak of the crisis on October 21, 2020, thugs controlled the streets after dominating the police agency. There was a palpable fear in Lagos.
It is heartbreaking that some members of the police staff are now prowling your police stations as internally displaced persons, internally displaced persons. Some have rented tents and plastic chairs to sit on. It is quite disturbing.
Coordinated, premeditated attacks
“What happened in Lagos on Wednesday and Thursday (October 21 and 22, 2002) were well-coordinated and premeditated attacks on law enforcement agencies under the excuse or pretext of shootings at the Lekki tollbooth to visit violence against the police . It is not normal for the public to mount a large-scale attack on law enforcement officers. The attacks were unprecedented in Nigerian history, where police personnel were systematically hunted down and then killed or injured by members of the public they serve. I therefore wish to present an investigative hypothesis that the attack on police formations and personnel in Lagos was aimed at dislodging the police and paving the way for the looting that followed.
The fall of the Ajah division
“The Ajah police station fell around 1 pm on October 21, 2020. The station was under siege from 7 am to 3 pm that fateful day. The brave police personnel, about 12 of them, defended themselves against more than 300 young rioters whose intention was to raze the police station.
Law enforcement officers were boxed in the middle to defend against rioters on the western flank (Liberty Bridge side) and swiftly turn to attack rioters on the eastern flank (Abraham Adesanya Estate side). Police personnel would shoot and drive the rioters back alternately to either side. Finally, it was said that the criminal gangs of Victoria Island introduced weapons onto the battle scene and that changed the conflict.
The Ajah police reportedly caused casualties among the rioters, some of whom were treated at nearby clinics and hospitals. No fatalities were recorded. However, the crowd was overwhelming. Ultimately, the Victoria Island firepower helped subdue police personnel. They all successfully escaped from the back of their compound and then the station was ransacked.
The police facility was set on fire, along with the apartments behind the station, weapons and ammunition were looted, while police uniforms and supplies, police vehicles and private vehicles in the compound were set on fire, exhibits were destroyed and the suspects in the police cells were released. The thugs were recruited into the police force and promoted.
“The fall of the Ajah police station was facilitated by the lack of reinforcements on a fateful day. Since the police stations in Orile (where police personnel died), Ikorodu, Surulere and other parts of Lagos were also attacked, there was ample evidence that police facilities were attacked.
However, given the widespread nature of the attacks against a wide variety of targets in Lagos on October 21, 2020, defending the Ajah police station became a Herculean task. Apart from the police stations, the media, local government secretariats and the family home of the Governor of Lagos State were targeted.
There is an urgent need to calculate the design basis threat for police stations. Clearly, the threat of mass action is serious and can overwhelm the police facility and then cause irreparable damage.
“The relevant questions are: How many members of the police staff can defend an attack-type police station in Ajah on October 21, 2020? How many canisters of tear gas do they need? It is worth noting that no tear gas was fired before Ajah’s Division fell. How can the armory be strengthened against looting by criminals? What should be the protocol to call OP MESA or OP AWATSE, to give help to a police division in distress?
Can the police division have a mutual aid agreement with private organizations or host communities that guarantees help in an emergency? Can the law enforcement agency put helicopters to work in support of police divisions that are seriously threatened by thugs? Can police stations have a better structural barrier to prevent rioters and criminal elements from entering easily?
Can police managers and executives conduct annual vulnerability assessments of police facilities to identify gaps and quickly fill them? The Ajah division attack showed that there were several loopholes that rioters took advantage of to break into the station. The police division must work closely with the community it serves, as its security is intertwined. After the fall of the Ajah division, criminals looted nearby banks, businesses and shops, and vehicles were destroyed for no reason.
Encourage the police
“The police officer has the authority, since he is the most visible government agent. The Police must occupy again for normality to return. We must have a Leviathan who must restore law and order. That Leviathan (or King) is you: police personnel. The law-abiding citizens of this country appreciate and love you. We also support you and provide you with information that will be important to keeping our communities safe. Get over your fears and get back to work.
Life is good, but a life of service is meaningful and purposeful. You should not go through life without serving or contributing. Policemen are a royal priesthood. You are a chosen race. The kind of psychic rewards you receive after saving a life cannot be reproduced anywhere. You may not be paid as well as you should be, but no occupational group in Nigeria can rival your sacrifice and service. Your zeal in serving your community and the nation is appreciated.
Calls for Better Well-Being
“We realize that the lack of adequate resources is a major drawback for effective policing in the country, but it stretches what little we have to keep our communities safe. From a strategic management perspective, law enforcement executives must find the administrative, programmatic, and technological means to accomplish more with less. I urge law enforcement executives to build trust between the agency and the community it serves.
The political pressure that will bring about improvements in police pay and conditions of service will come from the community. It should be noted that politicians will not give the police what they deserve, but what they lobby for. The community holds the key to speak effectively on behalf of the police.
The Nigerian Association of Industrial Safety and Security Operators, as the leading professional security body, will continue to partner with the police for government resources to enable the provision of quality service. We will continue to defend the cause of the law enforcement agency and use our contacts to push for better conditions of service. We will also use our vast knowledge and structured analytical tools to interpret the realities facing the law enforcement agency and Nigerians. We belong to an epistemic community that is often not understood. The ontology of policing, the epistemology of policing, and the methodology of policing must undergo dissection, visualization, and empirical examination to create new models of effective policing.
“I also urge the various Police Community Relations Committees across the country to give the police a shoulder to lean on during these difficult times. The PCRC is a natural ally of the law enforcement agency that must talk and talk now that morale is low in the agency. We all need the police and they need us.
I also wish to urge the media to defend the cause of the Nigerian Police. The police play a crucial crime control and law enforcement role. Without safe streets, legitimate activity cannot be carried out. The media must do its patriotic duty by telling the stories of police personnel cruelly murdered by thugs. No police deaths should be ignored. Every hero deserves to be honored. The corporate world has an important role to play. Funds must be mobilized to help families
of fallen police heroes. Injured police personnel must receive first-class medical treatment. This is expensive. The business world should also help rebuild the police facilities destroyed in the October madness that was emblematic of the #ENDSARS protests.
Given the current decline in the Federal Government’s oil revenues, rebuilding police facilities would be a daunting task. Patrol cars, modern police equipment and uniforms are needed to rebuild the police service in southern Nigeria. The individual police officer must engage in an internal dialogue that encourages him to return to work. The safety net provided by the police is broken at the moment.
It will take courage, commitment, dedication, patriotism, professionalism, perseverance and the ingenuity of police officers and women, police supervisors, police chiefs and other police officers to allow the healing necessary to get things back to normal. “