Ibrahim Idris, Nigeria’s inspector-general of police, on Tuesday, November 15, 2016 justified the killing of some Shiites members by policemen in Kano on Monday.
Idris spoke with State House correspondents shortly after attending the launch of the 2017 Armed Forces Remembrance Emblem and Appeal Fund at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
About 15 Shiite members and one policeman were said to have lost their lives during the clash between the members of the sect and the police.
The clash was also said to have left no fewer than four policemen and 10 Shiite members injured.
When asked why policemen would resort to killing people while quelling protests, Ibrahim said his men were confronted by protesters who were armed to the teeth.
He said rather than condemning police action, Nigerians should sympathise with the policemen who were killed by those he described as miscreants.
“I agree with what you said (that Nigerians should not be killed while quelling riot) but when you have Nigerians armed to the teeth, killing police officers, I don’t think it happens anywhere.
“I think as Nigerians, we have to appreciate a dangerous situation, and be sympathetic with the police that are being killed by some of these miscreants,” he said.
Ibrahim said police officers who had responsibility to ensure law and order decided to move against the group known to always cause crisis.
He said it was unlawful for the sect members to block a major road.
The police boss said, “Obviously from time to time, we have been experiencing upheavals from this set of people.
“As police officers, we have responsibility to ensure there is law and order and when you have people taking over the whole country, dominating streets and buildings, we have to come in to maintain sanity in those areas.
“As of early yesterday (Monday), we got information that they were trying to block Kano to Zaria road. They later assembled in large number and our officers were deployed in the place to ensure freedom of movement of ordinary Nigerians.
“They attacked our officers, killed one of our officers. One has sustained an arrow wound on his head and obviously in such a situation, police have the responsibility to ensure free movement of people on the road. And that was what our officers did.”
Ibrahim added that policemen have the responsibility to ensure that no organisation or individuals constitute themselves into a government and block roads and buildings.
On the claim that the protesters have freedom of worship, the police boss said they could only worship inside mosques or churches and not on the main road.
He urged Nigerians to always respect other people’s rights while carrying out their activities.