•Introduces other measures to protect citizens
By Tobias Lengnan Dapam
Finally, the Inspector-General of Police, IGP Muhammed Adamu, yesterday dissolved the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) across the 36 States Police Commands and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) where they hitherto existed.
A statement issued yesterday by Police PRO, Frank Mba, said the decision was in finest spirit of democratic, citizen-centred and community policing.
The IGP, while noting that the dissolution of SARS is in response to the yearnings of the Nigerian people, observed that by this dissolution, all officers and men of the now defunct Special Anti-robbery Squad are being redeployed with immediate effect.
The IGP noted 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 assured 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 of measures to prevent a re-occurrence of events that gave rise to the dissolution of SARS, a Citizens’ and Strategic Stakeholders’ Forum is being formed to regularly interface with Police leadership at all levels and advise on police activities as they affect the general public.
In addition, the Force is constituting an Investigation Team which shall include Civil Society Organizations and Human Rights Bodies to work with the Police in investigating alleged cases of human rights violations. The measure, the IGP believes, will enhance transparency and accountability in police services as well as providing a system of deterrence for erring police officers whose action clearly violates the 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.
Meanwhile the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rep. Femi Gbajabiamila has commended President Muhammadu Buhari for listening to the call by Nigerians across the length and breadth of the country to disband the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS).
Gbajabiamila who disclosed this, in a statement by his spokesman, Lanre Lasisi, said that the dissolution of SARS was a necessary response by the government to the outcry arising from multiple documented excesses of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) across the country.
Gbajabiamila also commended Nigerians, particularly the millions of young people at home and abroad, who saw a wrong and sought to make it right, who saw injustice and acted to put an end to it.
The dissolution of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), and the broader, ongoing reforms of the police that will follow, are a testament to the passion and resilience of a generation of Nigerians who determined not to accept or tolerate injustice in whatever form it takes.
The Speaker called on the Inspector General of Police (IGP) Mohammed Abubakar Adamu to take practical steps to support and enforce this policy pronouncement.
He said: “These steps are necessary to assure the Nigerian people that the announced dissolution of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) is sincere and well-intentioned, and not merely meant to quell the ongoing protests across the country.
“The Nigeria Police Force (NPF) must also act to identify and punish those operatives of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) involved in the most severe cases of abuse of rights, brutality and murder of Nigerian citizens.”
Gbajabiamila noted with displeasure the police’s manhandling of the some protesters, who came out in numbers to protest peacefully.