The Inspector-General of Police, M.A Adamu, has banned 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 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.
This was announced by the Police in a statement on Sunday afternoon, after the Online outrage from the activities of the officers of SARS.
Nairametrics reported today that Nigeria’s Ministry of Youth, former Senate President, Bukola Saraki, and the former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar all called on actions to be taken on SARS after the online outrage on Saturday.
“The Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) unit of the Police was set up to confront violent crimes such as armed robbery, kidnapping and other related crimes. However, the unit has today morphed into an oppressor of the Nigerian masses who strive every day for a better life. Reports of intimidation, harassment and outright extortion by officers of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) have continued unabated,” Atiku said.
The Police also announced today that no personnel of the Force is authorized to embark on patrols or tactical assignments without Police uniforms.
Stating, “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 this guise to perpetrate all forms of illegality, contrary to the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP), Code of Conduct and Rules of Engagement establishing the squads.
The IGP warned that SARS should not invade the privacy of Nigerian citizens 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,” he said.
The IGP urged that SARS is a critical component of the Police in fighting violent crimes nationwide, and condemned the acts of unprofessionalism, abuse of human rights and high-handedness by some personnel of the Squads.
The IGP 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,” he stated.
The IGP warned that the Commissioner of Police in charge of FSARS and other State Area Commanders will be held liable for any misconduct within their Area of Responsibility (AOR).