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Why Nigeria Police Force can’t end SARS

NEWSMAN, Abuja – Following the recent Public outrage over the harassment, extortion and extra-judicial killings of innocent Nigerians by operatives of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), an arm of the Nigeria Police Force, many citizens have called for the scrapping of the unit as #EndSARSNotBanSARS hashtag continues to trend on social media.

But Police Public Relations Officer, DCP Frank Mba speaking on Tuesday in an Instagram Live chat with Music Artiste Azeez Fashola, aka Naira Marley who had earlier planned a protest against SARS, says SARS cannot be scrapped because of its ongoing fight against crimes in the country.

“What we need to do is to reform SARS and make them responsive, responsible and make them to work in accordance with laid down procedures. We need them to continue to respond to violent crimes. We need them to continue to respond to armed robberies. We need them to continue to respond to kidnappings”, Mba said.

He, however, said the Force is currently reforming the operations of SARS officers nationwide to curtail their excesses.

Mba, also encouraged Nigerians to take video recordings of SARS operatives who abuse their fundamental human rights as long as it is safe to do so.

Meanwhile, Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, had earlier banned SARS personnel from engaging in routine patrols, stop-and-search, mounting of roadblocks and traffic checks while Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Hakeem Odumosu, says operatives of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad in the state no longer have the authority to unilaterally detain suspects.

Odumosu, who stated this on Tuesday morning while featuring on Channels Television’s programme, Sunrise Daily, said he held a sensitisation lecture with the officers of the Force on Monday to sensitise them on the new directive of the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu.

“The additional directive I gave on Monday is that they must not even go to investigate any case without booking their arrival at the Area Commander’s office so that the Area Commander will know that they are in that area doing what they ought to do. And once they finish, they must go back and file entry.

“Secondly, I gave a directive that they must not detain anybody in their cells any longer. They can only detain at my office or at the Area Commander’s office. And the Area Commander must interview any suspect they want to detain and ascertain that the suspect had done what warranted being detained”, CP Odumosu said.

Similarly,Minister of Police Affairs, Muhammad Dingyadi, has pledged to ensure a comprehensive investigation into allegations of infractions against personnel of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) of the Nigeria Police.

Press Secretary to the Minister, Osaigbovo Ehisienmen, in a statement on Monday in Abuja said “the newly inaugurated Servicom Unit of the Ministry of Police Affairs has been mandated to work closely with the Police Public Complaint Unit and the relevant department of the Police Service Commission. The idea was to fast-track the resolution of all cases of infractions against police personnel and ensure that erring officers were brought to book to serve as a deterrent to others”.

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