Following an order by the Acting President, Yemi Osinbajo on the immediate overhaul of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) to address complaints and allegations on human rights violations against some of the personnel of the squad from members of the public in some parts of the country, the Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris has announced a number of reforms in their operations.
According to a statement on Tuesday, in Abuja by the Force Public Relations Officer, Jimoh Moshood the IGP has appointed a new Commissioner of Police to oversee the affairs of the Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad nationwide.
Idris also moved SARS from the Force Criminal Intelligence and Investigations Department (FCIID) to operate under the Department of Operations, Force Headquarters Abuja.
The statement added that, “In observance of full compliance with the Presidential directives, the Federal Anti-Robbery Squad will be intelligence driven and will be restricted to the prevention and detection of Armed Robbery, kidnapping and the apprehension of offenders linked to the stated offences only.”
Idris said FSARS personnel will not perform Stop and Search duties except on distress call to respond to armed robbery and kidnapping offences only.
He added that the Police will work with the National Human Right Commission to conduct an investigation into the alleged unlawful activities of FSARS to address grievances from the public against the personnel of FSARS in compliance with the presidential directives.
Idris also set up a committee of Senior Police officers to work alongside technical consultants, Human Rights/Civil Society organizations (CSOs) to review the activities of FSARS under the new arrangement. The committee is expected to pay unscheduled visits to FSARS formations across the country with particular attention to states with high complaints index, to assess facilities and situations in these states and submit a report to the Inspector General of Police on regular basis.
Temidayo Taiwo-Sidiq is a Journalist, Political Analyst and Satirist with major interest in Nigerian Politics, Governance and Sports.