Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja and Chris Oji
Governors of the 36 states on the platform of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) have described the banning of routine patrol of the Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad (FSARS) and other tactical squads of the Nigeria Police by the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, as the greatest relief and satisfaction ever.
They noted that the ban will significantly reduce the various infractions of the Force that the ordinary citizens have been complaining about and bring an end to the menace of their brutality.
They also said young people should not be criminalised simply on account of how they look or their mode of dressing or the cars they drive, the type of phone they carry, noting that this was an assault on their fundamental human rights.
In a statement by the NGF chairman and Governor of Ekiti State, Kayode Fayemi, they said: “We also completely agree with the directive of the IGP that “no personnel of the Force is authorised to embark on patrols or tactical assignments in mufti” forthwith.
“This, in our view, will significantly reduce the various infractions of the Force that the ordinary Nigerian people have been complaining about and bring an end to the menace of SARS brutality on the people they are meant to protect.
“The IGP’s instructions could not have come at a better time when majority of Nigerians are unhappy with this cohort of police officers who have routinely engaged in unlawful killings and torture, thereby giving the Force a bad name.
“It is helpful to recall that SARS has been cautioned in the same manner before only for it to go back to its old ways.
“Our young people should not be criminalised simply on account of how they look or their mode of dressing or the cars they drive, the type of phone they carry, etc. This is an assault on their fundamental human rights.
“We think this is a timely clinical response by the leadership of the Nigerian Police Force and must specially commend IGP Adamu for his promptness and boldness. However, it is our hope that the announcement this time will promptly be followed by action and that there will be no reversal to the unorthodox enforcement practices being complained against.
“Finally, we call for appropriate sanctions against law enforcement officers that have been lawless and irresponsible in the exercise of their duties against ordinary Nigerians.”
Minister urges strict enforcement of ban, orders.
Meanwhile, Minister of Youth and Sports, Sunday Dare, has paid a visit to the IG to solicit further areas of mutual cooperation.
While thanking the Police Force on its response to the series of attacks on youths, the minister demanded strict enforcement of recent ban and pronouncements against SARS and similar squads.
“ We believe you are committed to professionalism, hence we expect that you will ensure discipline and precision are brought into the operations of the Police. The youth of this country are not all criminals. The profiling Should stop. We do not condone criminality. Our youth must be law abiding and as such should be protected. We also know that not all members of the police Force are bad. The police have a statutory responsibility to protect lives and property”.
The IGP thanked the minister for the visit assuring that the ban was a step in the partnership between the Police and the youths in the face of police harassment.
SARS activities are regulated since it was decentralised to check their mode of operations. But from what we are seeing, we need to readress their operations. The Police Act of 2020 has laid out alot of reforms. Any officer that goes contrary to the law would not go Scot free. We have identified some of these unruly officers and have arrested some in Rivers and Delta States who are facing disciplinary action”
CP withdraws arms from officers
Commissioner of Police in- charge of FSARS, Imohimi Edgal, yesterday, began the implementation of the IGP’s directives.
The FSARS boss who spoke with Daily Sun on telephone said henceforth, no SARS personnel would be issued firearms except for guard duties, at base and to respond to violent crimes as they occur.
He stated that all FSARS teams on routine patrol have been withdrawn in compliance with the directives.
Edgal said in order to improve on the efficiency and effectiveness of FSARS and ensure that they uphold the fundamental human rights of the citizens, we have drawn up a training/capacity workshop which will kick off this week in Abuja in collaboration with our civilian partners and Non Governmental Organisations, (NGO’s) aimed at emphasising the tenets of rule of law and fundamental rights of Nigerians.
He further said that no FSARS personnel will henceforth attend to any violent crimes except he was kitted in his approved jacket to guide members of the public. “Only FSARS operatives have the right to wear a jacket with the inscription ‘FSARS’. All other state Special Anti Robbery Squads, (SAR), which are commanded by state commissioners of police are to wear the inscription SARS without F.”
Edgal, has therefore ,called on state Commissioners and Commanders of tactical units to join hands to ensure the total success of all the directives and reforms regarding FSARS and SARS operations by the Inspector General of Police, Muhammed Adamu. He re-assured members of the public that the era of ‘slap on the wrist or cover ups’ of any policeman caught involving himself in any matter that will tarnish the image of the force was over.