The Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, has bowed to pressure by finally disbanding the notorious police unit known as FSARS for Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad and the SARS which is the Special Anti-Robbery Squad operating nationwide and in the 36 states of Nigeria and the Federal Capital Territory FCT.
rolled out new ordersscrapping the Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad (FSARS) and the SpecialAnti-Robbery Squad (SARS) units in the 36 states and the Federal CapitalTerritory (FCT), Abuja,
The disbandment followedmassive #EndSARS protests across the nation, and in major cities around theworld. The IGP gave the orders on Sunday, following a directive from thePresidency to swiftly disband the unit in the interest of national peace andsecurity.
It would be recalled that Nigerians have campaigned for days, for the disbandment of SARS, following reports that some elements in the force use their positions to commit various crimes.
They have been accused of misdemeanour and felonious crimes, which they have walked out freely without being charged or imprisoned. Most Nigerian ladies are said to have been assaulted, raped, and beaten. Young boys, on the other hand, have been manhandled, dehumanized, and killed for no just cause.
Miffed with all of these, Nigerian youths embarked on a serious campaign with the hashtag, #ENDSARSNOW, #ENDSARS, #WEDONTNEEDSARS, #ENDPOLICEBRUTALITY, etc, calling on President Muhammadu Buhari and the Police IG to terminate SARS operation.
Tired of the pressure from various quarters in the country, Adamu bowed and dissolved SARS, noting that all officers and men of the now-defunct Special Anti-Robbery Squad are being redeployed with immediate effect.
The full statement of the IGP, signed by the Force Spokesman, DCP Frank Mba, reads, “In the finest spirit of democratic, citizen-centered and community policing, the Inspector-General of Police, IGP M.A Adamu, NPM, mni has today, 11th October 2020, dissolved the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) across the 36 State Police Commands and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) where they hitherto existed.
“The IGP, while noting that the dissolution of SARS is in response to the yearnings of the Nigerian people, observes that by this dissolution, all officers and men of the now-defunct Special Anti-robbery Squad are being redeployed with immediate effect.
“The IGP notes that the Force is not oblivious of the ever-present need to combat armed robbery, kidnapping and other violent crimes in the country which was before now the core mandate of the erstwhile Squad. He assures that a new policing arrangement to address anticipated policing gaps the dissolution of SARS would cause has been evolved and shall be announced in due course.
“Meanwhile, as part ofmeasures to prevent a re-occurrence of events that gave rise to the dissolutionof SARS, a Citizens’ and Strategic Stakeholders’ Forum is being formed toregularly interface with Police leadership at all levels and advise on policeactivities as they affect the general public.
“In addition, the Forceis constituting an investigation team which shall include civil societyorganizations and human rights bodies to work with the police in investigatingalleged cases of human rights violations. The measure, the IGP believes, willenhance transparency and accountability in police services as well as providinga system of deterrence for erring police officers whose action clearly violatesthe rights of the citizenry.
“The IGP appreciates and commends all citizens particularly those who genuinely express their concerns for a better policing orientation in an organized, patriotic, and civil manner. He reaffirms the determination of the Force to bequeath to the country a Police Force and system that is professional in service delivery and most importantly, accountable to the people”.
An additional press statement, personally signed by the IGP, yesterday, reads, “It is with a sense of patriotism and commitment to my professional calling that I invited you to this important press briefing to address critical internal security issues.
“The current development in which cross-sections of Nigerians are calling for the scrapping of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad as a Unit in the Nigeria Police Force has remained under constant monitoring and due assessment by the government.
“The governmentacknowledges the inalienable rights of citizens to freedom of association andexpression. The current agitation, in this context, is seen as a manifestationof the natural desire of citizens to participate in matters concerning policingand internal security in the nation. This is indeed one of the fundamentalprinciples of Community Policing, which we are currently implementing.
“The Nigeria Policeleadership has, since the commencement of the protests, been engaging theleadership of some civil society organisations with a view to initiatingmeaningful and wide-ranging discussions on the subjects of their concern.
“Our valued covenantwith the citizens of this nation is to serve and protect them and integratetheir concerns and views into our practices, especially within the dictates ofcommunity policing principles, which constitute a critical component of theNational Policing and Internal Security Strategy of the Federal Government.
“Following a review ofthe current developments, and in due cognizance of the wide and legitimatelyheld concerns of well-meaning citizens on the existence and operations of theSpecial Anti-Robbery Squad, as a responsive and citizens-oriented Police Force,it is hereby directed as follows: The Special Anti-Robbery Squad of the NigeriaPolice, otherwise known as SARS, is hereby dissolved across all Formations, the36 State Police Commands and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) where theycurrently exist.
“All officers and men currently serving in the unit are to be redeployed withimmediate effect.
“New policing arrangements to address the offenses of armed robbery, and other violent crimes that fall within the mandate of the dissolved Special Anti-Robbery Squad shall be presented in due course.
“A Citizens andStrategic Stakeholders’ Forum will be formed to regularly interface with theleadership of the police at all levels and advice on police activities.
“To deal with the reports of crimes committed against citizens, aninvestigation team will be constituted which will include civil societyorganisations for transparency, and culprits will be punished.
“I commend the vast majority of men and women of the Nigeria Police who are diligently going about their duties, guided by the dictates of the rule of law, honour, and professionalism. I encourage them to sustain their sense of national service, sacrifice, patriotism, and commitment to crime-fighting. Their gallant efforts to ensure the safety of the lives and property of all Nigerians are very much appreciated.
“I also commend allcitizens that have voiced their genuine concerns for a better policingorientation in an organised, patriotic, and civil manner.
“I assure the nation of our firm determination to advance our police reformagenda with a view to bequeathing to our beloved nation a police institutionand system that are not only accountable to the citizens, but professional inall components of its service delivery.
I call on all citizens to partner with us inour drive for a peaceful and secure internal security order. “I thank you alland pray for Allah’s (SWT) continued protection on our beloved nation”, the IGPadded.
Earlier, the Presidencyhad said that officers of the “now-defunct” Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS),are to be “redeployed with immediate effect”. This was communicated via theverified @NGRPresident handle, yesterday.
It also said a “newpolicing arrangement” will be made to address the policing gaps that mightarise as a result of the dissolution of SARS.
It read: “PRESIDENTIAL DIRECTIVE: The Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) of theNigeria Police Force @PoliceNG has been dissolved WITH IMMEDIATE EFFECT.
“The Inspector-General of Police will communicate further developments in thisregard.
“All officers and men of the now-defunct Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) areto be redeployed with immediate effect.
“A new policing arrangement to address anticipated policing gaps thedissolution of SARS will cause is being worked on and will be announced by@PoliceNG.”
Reacting to the disbandment of the unit, two commissioners of police,yesterday, hailed the decision of the Inspector-General of Police, MohammedAdamu, to disband the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) in the 36 states andthe Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
The commissioners said that the dissolution of SARS would help in reducing violence erupting from various anti-protesting groups across the country.
One of them, a retired commissioner of police, Mr. Fatai Owoseni, said that the peaceful protest organised by responsible citizens had been hijacked by hoodlums to perpetuate crime and create unrest in the society.
“The dissolution of theanti-robbery unit will help to lessen the aggression fuelled by protestingyouths, and hopefully stabilise decorum in the society,” Owoseni, said.
Also speaking, Commissioner Awotinde Awoshola said that the IGP made a smartdecision by disbanding the unit for peace to be restored to the country.
Awoshola said that the excesses of the anti-robbery unit had to be checked, andthat can only be achieved by disbanding the unit.
“However, thedisbandment of SARS will only create room for the establishment of anothersecurity outfit. We hope that the new outfit will carry out the objectives ofthe Federal Government to the letter,” he said.
Also, a lawyer, Mr. Monday Ubani, supported the decision of the government to bring an end to SARS as a way of listening to the voices and cries of the public.
Ubani, however, said that the disbandment would only create room for a better anti-robbery unit to be brought to play to continue the fight against crime in the society.
“There is going to be aworkout programme by the Nigeria Police Force, civic society group and majorstakeholders on who will replace SARS in fighting crime,” he said.
Ubani said that the officials of the disbanded unit usually picked onwell-dressed young men who use expensive phones and try to extort money fromthem based on the premise they were internet fraudsters.
“This has led to harassment and an infringement on the rights of such citizens which is unacceptable,” he said.
Also, a social critic and human rights activist, Mr. Kehinde Nubi, said that the government should set up a panel to investigate the crimes committed by the officials of SARS for justice to prevail. Nubi said that this was not the first time that a special unit of the police would be disbanded after public outcry only for the unit to be brought back.
“A disbandment of the unit is not only satisfactory. We need the government to set up a panel that will punish erring officials of SARS as a deterrent to others,” he said.
Similarly, Nigerians from various walks of life have reacted to the disbandment of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) by the Inspector General of Police.
While reacting, some Nigerians asked where the SARS personnel would be moved to, others congratulated the youths for the victory.
Some Nigerians, who reacted to the scrapping of the unit, on Twitter, yesterday, said, @ayosogunro, “I am still angry but I will try to feel some elation: we have won something. We won it on paper, but it is still a win.”
“Next: #EndSARS must be won in reality. Please, monitor your neighborhoods and streets and report/post any SARS personnel. SARS is now an illegal outfit.”
@iamnino_b, “Before I will fall for this congratulations, I need to understand what role these “Ex -SARS” officials will be playing when redeployed to other police units.”
@mrmacaronii, “Nigerian youths, we have a voice! This is the beginning of a New Nigeria. SARS has been dissolved!!!
@chemicalbrodar, “They say SARS have been dissolved but we are NEVER going to believe them except we stop seeing them in the streets, except the police get reformed and we can move freely without harassment!!! Simple.”
@Aminatsule_, “Today I’m so proud to be Nigerian. The SARS protest today has demonstrated that injustice to Nigerians in Nigeria is an injustice to ALL Nigerians. Unity was our issue before, now we are unified we are unstoppable.”
@SamuelOtigba, “Untilthey leave the streets, don’t fall for their gimmicks & fake dissolution.We have seen this movie before. Amplify the pressure more. #EndSARS #EndSarsNow#EndPoliceBrutality.”
@TitoOfLagos, “The president should come out on TV and tell us SARS isdissolved and publicized it across media outlets, until then we will not stopscreaming #EndSARS in their ears.”
@Penpreneur1,“Congratulations Nigerians on our victory with #EndSARS campaign. We just hopethey don’t rename the same team and push them out to kill the youths again. So,what next are we fighting for? Bad roads or electricity?”
@VickyShegzy, “Now that SARS has been dissolved, this is our we hit the street next without fear of oppression and intimidation from SARS! Congratulations Nigerians but the biggest war are against corruption which is far from being over.”
@papaya_ex, “I’m so happy for us guys, congratulations Nigerians. Thanks to all the foreign public figures that came through for us too folded hands.”