Hundreds, if not thousands of police personnel in Nigeria will not forget the October 2020 #EndSARS in a hurry.
The protest championed Nigerian youths kicked against excesses of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS).
The protest started as a peaceful protest, with the protesters even asking for better welfare for police personnel, but suddenly turned bloody after soldiers were accused of shooting unarmed protesters at the Lekki TollGate on the 20th of October.
The protests which were believed to have been hijacked by paid miscreants, quickly snowballed into arson and murder, with police personnel and police structures being the fixation of most of the miscreants.
The miscreants, who were very organised and appeared to be taking instructions from unknown persons, went around police stations armed with boxes of matches, kegs filled with fuel and improvised explosives.
They went from police station to police station, burning and injuring police personnel and killing some of them. Many police personnel did not live to tell the story of that horrific days.
However, the Divisional Police Officer (DPO) in charge of Anthony Division, a Chief Superintendent of Police (CSP), Mrs. Patrician Amadi is one woman that engaged the bloodthirsty crowd and decided to protect her station and her men at all costs.
She remembered how her heart pounded as she saw the crowd chanting and marching towards her station with blood in their eyes. She had listened with rapt attention to the Police Walkie-Talkie on the carnages that the motley crowd had wrought on other stations and feared the worst.
As they marched with determination and intention, she made frantic phone calls to all people that came to her mind, calling for help. But help did not come. She prayed and waited for destruction and death.
Speaking exclusively with Security News Alert, she said: “I wasn’t prepared. I acted on impulse and I thanked God I took the decision of what I did.”
You are probably asking yourself what was the impulsive action she took. She diplomatically engaged the crowd, bought water for them and joined in the protest decked out in her uniform. It was that impulsive action that saved her life, those of her personnel and her station. She practically stared death in the eyes.
This year, Amadin was given an award for “Effective Community Engagement, Courageous and Exceptional Performance.”
The award was the initiative of Mr. Okechukwu Nwanguma, Coordinator of the Lagos State Stakeholders’ Forum on Police Accountability (SFPA) and Executive Director, the Rule of Law, and Accountability Advocacy Centre (RULAAC).
Nwanguma stated that SFPA resolved to honour Amadin and three other officers as “our modest means and gesture to commend them, to hold them up as models for professional policing, and to encourage them and others to stay on the path of professionalism and integrity.”
Speaking with julianafrancisnews.com (JFNews) after the award ceremony, she said enthusiastically: “I am very excited and very happy. I feel fulfilled and rewarded for the acknowledgement of the job well done.”
Asked what the experience of #EndSARS had taught her and how she felt about the award, she said: “My experience has further shown me that the world is watching and whatever it is that we do, we should strive to be the very best and aim for excellence. My award has been two years coming even when people think that the reward didn’t come on time or as expected, they do come that’s why we have to keep up the good work and we would get blessed in whatever we do.”
She said that every time she reflected back to that fateful day, she shudders at her temerity in the face of forthcoming death.
She said: “It was a risk I took and the fact I took that risk has never left me. On that day, when the protesters came, an inspector of police had already been killed somewhere at Surulere. He was shot in the stomach and died a few hours later. For me, it was a risk I was willing to take because I knew the community I worked in. But then again, I wanted to show the men that there was a reward for hard work. I remembered the initial fear that gripped me that day and how I fought to suppress the fear and went for it. I addressed and asked them what they wanted for the protest to make it easier.”
She further narrated: “I bought them water, sang with them and I offered to escort them all the way to Shomolu. We crossed the expressway while protesting and I was on duty because I was in uniform. I got 4000 tweets on that day.”
Amadin has advice for women in leadership positions, concerning handling their fears and taking charge, she said: “We are dominated by our fear and they are genuine fears arising from the perception of society, fear of natural limitations, which comes to us by virtue of being women. I usually tell women that what they do, can go a long way to elevate them and their essence in the service. Whenever I have my lectures, I talk specifically to policewomen, urging them not to allow a man to win them simply because he’s a man. They can do so much simply on knowledge and professionalism but not for the main reason they are women. I want to encourage and tell women that they can do more, far exceeding more than they thought they could and given a level playing field, there is nothing that says a woman cannot beat a man.”
Amadin, who said that she could sway the #EndSARS protesters from burning her station because of her community policing partnership with the community, explained: “There is no area that they do not know me at Anthony. In fact, most times when I walk on the street I’m embarrassed because all I hear is mama! Mama! Mama! Such greetings boost my morale. They give me information far more than I need and after the information, it would be left to me to do what I want with it. I integrated into the community and I don’t turn anyone away from getting access to me. I’m always at the station and I partake a lot in what they do. If there are parties, I attend even children’s parties. I have a deep-rooted leg in my community and it has continued to help me.”
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