Finally, Presidency, IG Responds to Call to End SARS Impunity

  • Set to reorganise squad nationwide

Chiemelie Ezeobi

Three days after a sustained and collective outcry against acts of impunity by operatives of the Special Anti Robbery Squad (SARS), the presidency and the police top hierarchy were yesterday finally forced to react.

While the presidency responded through the Personal Assistant to the president on New Media, Bashir Ahmad, the Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris issued a statement calling for the nationwide reorganisation of the squad.

The response came after nearly 500,000 tweets on #EndSARS had gone viral with most of the complaints, tales of woe of victims and their loved ones in the hands of the police officers.

Chief among the allegations against SARS operatives were complaints of wanton and illegal arrests, acts of extra-judicial killings, physical assaults, intimidation, accusations of fraud and forcefully dispossessing people of their money and properties.

In his tweet via his official Twitter handle @BashirAhmaad he said, ”
I have earnestly been following #EndSARS — I must say it is indeed saddening.

“While it is not within my power to do any thing. But I promise to bring this very urgent matter to the attention of relevant authorities. Rest assured that the Buhari administration is a listening one.”

Hours after he tweeted that, the force headquarters issued a press release stating the move by the IG to re-organise SARS.

Issued by the force Public Relations Officer, CSP Jimoh Moshood, the statement the re-organisation will spread across all SARS formation nationwide.

The statement read thus; “The Nigeria Police Force has observed the recent trends of event in the social media l 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 SARS, a detachment of the Nigeria Police Force.

“Undoubtedly, SARS have been doing very well in fighting violent crimes such as armed robbery, kidnapping and cattle rustling in the country in the recent times and this has resulted in drastic reduction of incidents of the mentioned violent crimes nationwide.

“However, the Inspector General of Police, IGP Ibrahim Idris, concerned with public interest and the need to reposition SARS for more efficiency and effective service delivery to all Nigerians and ensure that they operate based on International Core Value of Policing with integrity and make sure the rule of law prevails in the operations and activities of the outfit, has directed its immediate re-organisation nationwide.

“Also an instant investigation into all the allegations, complaints and infractions levelled against the personnel of the Special Anti Robbery Squad across the country by the IGP X-Squad of the Force.

“In the new arrangement, a commissioner of police is now the overall head of the Federal Anti-Robbery Squad (FSARS) nationwide under the Department of Operations, Force Headquarters Abuja.

“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 (AOR) and other crack squads necessary to sustain law and order and protection of life and properties.

“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 organised 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 IG for all FSARS personnel nationwide with immediate effect.

“However, aggrieved members of the public who have any complaint in the past or present of violation of their rights by any SARS personnel anywhere in the country are to report through any of the following channels for investigation and further actions.”

The listed numbers include for the IG X-SQUAD; 0902 690 0729 (calls),
0903 227 8905 (sms), 0903 562 1377 (whatsapp) and (email.)