Mohammed Adamu, the Inspector-General of Police, has urged police officers across the country to protect themselves from any attack from criminal elements.
The IGP said this during an assessment tour of the Federal Capital Territory Police Command, Abuja, on Friday.
The police authorities said over 20 police officers were killed nationwide in the aftermath of the #EndSARS protest.
According to Adamu, the men and officers of the police force have the right to defend themselves in case of physical danger.
He encouraged all police operatives not to abandon their duty posts, saying they need to perform their responsibilities to ensure that the public space is not taken over by the criminals.
He said: “The unity of this country lies in the support that is given to police officers because if you are demoralised, the tendency is for criminals to take over the public space and the country is relying on us to make sure that the public space is not taken over by the criminals. So no amount of provocation, no amount of insult would make us shy away from our responsibilities.
“Inasmuch as we are aware that the government is behind us; so, we would encourage you to keep performing your duties. We would encourage you to be professional, to be civic, but if anybody touches you, if anybody comes to assault you, you can also protect yourself.
“When we talk of human rights, the police are human; so, the rights of police officers would also be protected. So, we are sending the message that legally, we have the right to protect ourselves but while we are doing that, we make sure that until we are endangered.”