…As Police Arrest 2 FSARS Operatives, 1 Civilian Accomplice In Lagos
…SARS’ Exploitation Must Be Addressed Immediately -Sanwo-Olu
The Inspector-General of Police, IGP Mohammed Adamu has banned the personnel of the Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad (FSARS) and other Tactical Squads of the Force including the Special Tactical Squad (STS), Intelligence Response Team (IRT), Anti-Cultism Squad and other Tactical Squads operating at the Federal, Zonal and Command levels, from carrying out routine patrols and other conventional low-risk duties – stop and search duties, checkpoints, mounting of roadblocks, traffic checks, etc – with immediate effect.
In addition, no personnel of the Force is authorized to embark on patrols or tactical assignments in mufti. They must always appear in their police uniforms or approved tactical gear. The IGP’s directives come against the backdrop of findings by the leadership of the Force that a few personnel of the Tactical Squads hide under these guise to perpetrate all forms of illegality, contrary to the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP), Code of Conduct and Rules of Engagement establishing the squads.
This was disclosed in a statement issued in Abuja on Sunday by the Force Public Relations Officer FPRO Frank Mba a Deputy Commissioner of Police DCP.
Specifically, the IGP has warned the Tactical Squads against the invasion of the privacy of citizens particularly through indiscriminate and unauthorized search of mobile phones, laptops and other smart devices. They are to concentrate and respond only to cases of armed robbery, kidnapping and other violent crimes when the need arises.
The IGP notes that the FSARS and other Police Tactical Squads remain a critical component of the Force in confronting prevailing and emerging violent crimes in the country. He however condemns every act of unprofessionalism, abuse of human rights and high-handedness by some personnel of the Squads. He has therefore ordered the X-Squad and the Monitoring Unit to embark on immediate and massive nationwide monitoring of activities of Tactical Squads and other police officers on the road. They are to ensure prompt arrest, investigation and prosecution of all erring police officers who violate these directives and other extant regulations of the Force.
The IGP has equally warned that henceforth, the Commissioner of Police in charge of FSARS, Commissioners of Police in charge of State Commands and the FCT as well as their supervisory Zonal Assistant Inspectors General of Police, will be held liable for any misconduct within their Area of Responsibility (AOR). He therefore charged them to ensure effective supervision and mentoring of the personnel of the Tactical Squads under their jurisdiction.
Meanwhile, two operatives of the FSARS and their civilian accomplice operating in Lagos State, INSPR Sale James, INSPR Monday Uchiola and Okechukwu Ogbonna, have been arrested by the Lagos State Police Command, for acts of professional misconduct including extortion and intimidation of innocent citizens. The operational vehicle of the men has also been impounded and disciplinary procedure has already commenced against the defaulters.
The IGP reaffirms his commitment to bequeathing to Nigerians, a reformed Police Force that is accountable, responsible and ever ready to defend and uphold the rights of the citizens while discharging its duties of keeping the people safe and secure. He enjoins the citizens not to allow the misconduct by a few personnel of the Force to negatively impact on their belief, confidence and trust in the Police.
..SARS’ exploitation must be addressed immediately -Sanwo-Olu
Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu has given assurance of safety to residents, saying appropriate action will be taken speedily to address exploitation by overzealous security operatives.
The Governor stated this on his verified Twitter handle on Sunday, noting that as the Chief Security Officer in the State, the safety of residents is guaranteed.
The tweet read, “The safety of our residents is my number one duty as the CSO of Lagos. So, reading reports of seemingly unlawful exploitation by the people charged to protect is very worrying & needs to be addressed immediately. Be assured that appropriate actions will be taken, & speedily too.”
The Nigeria Police Force’s Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) had once again come under attack over their overzealousness and exploitation of the people.
It was also reported that the Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Sunday Dare, who has also been monitoring the reports of alleged SARS harassment and attacks, has called for immediate investigations that will unravel the truth.
Meanwhile, the Amnesty International said, “SARS officers are getting rich through their brutality. In Nigeria, it seems that torture is a lucrative business. End SARS now, end police brutality.
“The majority of the victims of torture in SARS custody are poor and unable to hire legal representatives. In some cases when detainees cannot afford to pay bribes, they are simply tortured more.
“The complete failure of Nigerian authorities to bring an end to the gross human rights violations perpetuated by the SARS or to bring any SARS officer to justice is shocking and unacceptable.”