The Acting President Prof Yemi Osinbajo has ordered the complete overhaul of the operations of the men of the Special Anti Robbery Squad (SARS). This development follows a series of complaints by Nigerians about some nefarious activities of the SARS operatives amid gross abuse of human rights.
In a press statement made available by the Special Adviser to the Acting President Mr Laolu Akande. The Acting President wrote:
“Following persistent complaint and reports on the activities of the Special Anti Robbery Squad(SARS) that border on allegations of human right violations, His Excellency, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo SAN, Acting President, Federal Republic of Nigeria has directed the inspector general of police , to with immediate effect, overhaul the management and activities of SARS and ensure that any unit that will emerge from the process, will be intelligence driven and restricted to the prevention and detection of armed robbery and kidnapping and apprehension of offenders linked to the stated offences and nothing more.
The Acting President has also directed the IGP to ensure that all operatives in the emerging Unit conduct their operations in strict adherence with the rule of law and with due regard to International Humanitarian Law and the constitutionally guaranteed rights of suspects. The operatives should also bear proper identification anytime they are on duty.
In the meantime, the Acting President has directed the national human right commission to set up a committee that will conduct nationwide investigation of the alleged unlawful activities of SARS in order to afford members of the general public the opportunity to present their grievances with a view to ensuring redress.”
This development is coming barely four days after the ENDSARS movement had written a letter to the presidency requesting the decisive action of the government concerning the inhuman treatment being meted out against some innocent Nigerians, calling for investigation and reforms.
The demands made by the ENDSARS movement includes: The constitution of a panel of inquiry to investigate the operations and activities of the SARS operatives and That those found to have err in this gross abuse and violation of human rights be brought to book, among various other reforms in the Nigerian police force.
The Special Anti Robbery Squad arm of the Nigerian police force has come under intense scrutiny in recent times over the man handling of innocent Nigerians with reckless brutality amid cases of extortion, and killing of suspects.
The convener of the #ENDSARS and #ReformPoliceNG movement, Mr Segun Awosanya expressed appreciation to the Acting President for acceding to the demands of Nigerians. In a tweet, the Convener warned that the battle to reform the Nigerian Police had just begun. According to him “The devil is in the details. The implementation of this order is key. We will remain vigilant as we press on to ensure the effective monitoring. Humans are weakest at the point of Success but we must understand that success by itself is a journey and never a destination”
Report by Adefarati Abiodun for IbadanCity ANNOUNCER