The Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris has bowed to the demands by Nigerians to have a rethinking on the operations of the SARS, the Special Anti-Robbery Squad.
In a rare campaign on Twitter on Sunday, Nigerians launched the hashtag #EndSARS, in which they asked that the police unit be scrapped. Posts after posts gave hair-raising details of the atrocities committed by policemen on the SARS teams nationwide.
Though the campaigners wanted the unit, which fights bandits, disbanded, the police boss said he has ordered an immediate reform, arguing that the unit has done well, on its core mandate, despite excesses.
“Undoubtedly, the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) have been doing very well in fighting violent crimes such as Armed Robbery, Kidnappings and Cattle Rustling in the country in the recent time and this has resulted in drastic reduction of incidents of the mentioned violent crimes nationwide”.
Thus rather than scrapping the unit, Idris in a statement circulated by the Police PRO, Jimoh Moshood, directed its immediate re-organisation nationwide.
He also ordered immediate investigation by the IGP X-Squad of all the allegations, complaints and infractions levelled against the personnel of SARS.
The police boss said his response was a reaction to the recent trends of event in the Social Media on the #ENDSARSNOW and the controversy being generated by the innuendos from the allegations and other misconceptions as it concerns the Operational roles and activities of the squad, a detachment of the Nigeria Police Force.
Under the reform, Idris said, a Commissioner of Police will now be the overall head of the Federal Anti-Robbery Squad nationwide under the Department of Operations, Force Headquarters Abuja.
“Federal Anti-Robbery Squad (FSARS) will now exist and operate in the State and Zonal Commands under the Commissioner of Police (F-SARS) at the Force Headquarters.
“A Federal SARS Commander of a Rank of Chief Superintendent of Police (CSP) and not below Superintendent of Police (SP) will be in charge of FSARS in State and Zonal Commands across the Country.
“All Commissioners of Police have been directed by the Inspector General of Police to comply with this directive with immediate effect and warn their personnel not to pose as SARS operatives. The IGP X-Squad has been mandated to go round the Commands and Police Formations nationwide to ensure strict compliance and apprehend any erring police officer.
“Furthermore, a new training program to be organized by the Force in collaboration with some Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), Local and International NGOs, and other Human Rights Organisations on core Police Duties, Observant of Human Rights and Handling, Care and Custody of Suspects have been directed by the Inspector General of Police for all Federal SARS personnel nationwide with immediate effect.
“The Police Zonal Commands, State Commands and Divisions will continue to operate anti-crime units/sections, crime prevention and control squads and teams imperative to prevent and detect crimes and criminalities in their Area of Responsibilities, and other crack squads necessary to sustain law and order and protection of life and properties in their Area of responsibilities (AOR).
In the statement, Idris urged aggrieved members of the public who have any complaint in the past or present of violation of their rights by any Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) personnel anywhere in the country to lodge the complaint at three channels: .
* The IGP X-SQUAD with telephone numbers 0902 690 0729, 08078662130, 08174041000 – CALLS0903 227 8905 – SMS 0903 562 1377 – whatsapp. Email: email@example.com
- The FORCE PUBLIC COMPLAINT BUREAU . Telephone: 07056792065 Calls/SMS/whatsapp 08088450152 Calls/SMS/whatsapp. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com Twitter: @PoliceNG www.facebook.com/ngpolice
- PUBLIC COMPLAINT RAPID RESPONSE UNIT (PCRRU) 08057000001 – Calls Only 08057000002 – Calls Only 08057000003 – SMS & whatsapp only Twitter: @PoliceNG_PCRRU www.facebook.com/PolicePCRRU