IGP scraps SARS after widespread protests
The Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, has dissolved the infamous subunit of the force, the Special Anti-robbery Squad (SARS).
Adamu made the announcement of the dissolution on Sunday, days after widespread protests demanding a scrapping of the unit over allegations of brutality and human rights violations.
“The Special Anti-Robbery Squad of the Nigerian Police, otherwise known as SARS, is hereby dissolved across all formations, the 36 state police command and the Federal Capital Territory where they currently exists,” the IGP said.
The unit was founded in 1992 to combat cases of armed robbery, kidnapping, and other violent crimes. But SARS, instead, over time, has gained notoriety for its reckless intimidation of innocent civilians through puerile profiling and wanton abuse of power.
Calls for the unit’s disbandment date as far back as 2017 and while the Federal Government and police chiefs have made several pledges to implement reforms, reports of SARS’ brutal activities against civilians have not abated.
The current wave of protest can be traced to October 3, after another report of extra-judicial killing in Delta State (the police have denied any killing took place).
It sparked fresh concerns and anger. Fuelled by this, and the outpouring of tales of traumatic experiences at the hands of officials of the unit, many Nigerians have held protests in many states, including Lagos, the Federal Capital Territory, Kaduna, Osun, Edo, and Imo.
The IGP in the press conference on Sunday, however, noted that the current developments and the outcry by sections of Nigerian have remained under constant monitoring and due assessment by the government.
He also noted that the government acknowledges the inalienable rights of citizens to freedom of association and expression.
Also in a statement, the Force Public Relations Office, Force Headquarters, Dcp Frank Mba, noted that “the dissolution of SARS is in response to the yearnings of the Nigerian people”.
He explained 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”.
Mba, therefore, assured that a new policing arrangement to address anticipated policing gaps which the dissolution of SARS would cause has been evolved and shall be announced in due course.
Source: Channel TV