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IGP disbands SARS nationwide

The Inspector-General of Police, Adamu Mohammed has scrapped the Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad (F-SARS).

Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu [Facebook/Nigeria Police Force]

The dissolution of the police squad that was infamous for human rights abuse was announced in a statement by the Force PRO, Frank Mba.

The statement said the disbandment of the squad was in response to the yearnings of Nigerians, adding that all officers of the defunct Special Anti-robbery Squad will be redeployed with immediate effect.

The statement reads in part, "In the finest spirit of democratic, citizen-centred and community policing, the Inspector-General of Police, IGP M.A Adamu, NPM, mni has today, 11th October, 2020, dissolved the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) across the 36 State Police Commands and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) where they hitherto existed.

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"The IGP, while noting that the dissolution of SARS is in response to the yearnings of the Nigerian people, observes that by this dissolution, all officers and men of the now defunct Special Anti-robbery Squad are being redeployed with immediate effect.

"The IGP notes 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 assures 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".

However, in a bid to prevent the recurrence of events that led to the dissolution of SARS, the IGP promised to establish a Citizens and Strategic Stakeholders’ Forum to advise on police activities and enhance transparency and accountability in police services.

The statement reads further, "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.

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"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.

Also confirming the development, Bashir Ahmad, President Muhammadu Buhari’s Personal Assistant on New Media said, “The SARS officially disbanded, all officers serving within the unit are to be redeployed with immediate effect, IGP Muhammed Adamu, announced in a live broadcast this afternoon. #EndSARS

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Nigerian youths have since last week been protesting against SARS as celebrities and sports stars joined the conversation on social media.

The disbandment, however, is a pyrrhic victory for the youths as one of them, Jimoh Isiaq was shot dead on Saturday, October 10, 2020, during the #ENDSARS protest in Ogbomosho, Oyo State, while many others were attacked and arrested for protesting against police brutality.

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