Adamu Mohammed, the inspector-general of police, has announced the immediate disbandment of the special anti-robbery squad (SARS) following nationwide protests over its brutality.
He made the announcement at a press conference on Sunday afternoon in Abuja.
In a statement after the media briefing, Frank Mba, police spokesman, said a new policing arrangement will be announced to fill in the gaps created by the scrapping of SARS.
”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”, the statement read.
”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.
”Meanwhile, 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.
”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.
There have been protests across the country demanding the end of the police unit which is notorious for human rights violations.
Owing to the mass outrage, the IGP had banned operatives of SARS, the Special Tactical Squad (STS) and Intelligence Response Team (IRT) from undertaking routine patrols as well as stop and search duties.
The IGP also promised to reform SARS.
But Nigerians were not pacified by this owing to similar promises of reforming the unit in the past which failed.
Citizens persisted in protests which soon gained global attention as world figures and celebrities joined in.
The police unleashed violence on citizens protesting against police brutality. At least one protester, Jimoh Isiaq was killed in Ogbomosho in Oyo state on Saturday.
The police also dispersed a crowd of protesters in Abuja with live bullets, water cannons and tear gas on Sunday.