Nigeria Police moves to disband SARS to stave off mounting social media campaigns against alleged brutal tactics of operatives.
The Nigeria Police moved today, 11 October 2020, to disband its violent crimes-fighting unit known as Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS).
Inspector-General Mohammed Adamu announced the dissolution of the Squad in a statement from Force spokesperson, Frank Mbah, a deputy commissioner.
Former SARS operatives are now being redeployed “with immediate effect,” he said.
In place of the disbanded unit, Adamu said he will adopt a different strategy to deal with issues of violent crimes.
“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.
“… a new policing arrangement to address anticipated policing gaps … has been evolved and shall be announced in due course,” Adamu said.
The new arrangement includes formation of “a Citizens’ and Strategic Stakeholders’ Forum to .. advise on police activities as they affect the general public.”
It also includes constituting a team of Civil Society Organizations, Human Rights Bodies and Police to investigate allegations of of human rights violations.
“The measure 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,” Adamu said.
The IGP praised citizens for publicly expressing concerns for better policing in an organized, patriotic and civil manner.
The Force is determined to “bequeath to the country a Police Force and System that is professional in service delivery and … accountable to the people,” he said.
The decision by Nigeria police to disband SARS followed weeks of citizen pressure mounted on government officials to take action.
Citizen voices were raised in the media over conduct of SARS operatives, including daily allegations of torture and extra-judicial killings.
Enugu Metro gathered that the Police authority was forced to act following reports of alleged assassination of youths promoting the #EndSARS Campaign.
Before the outright ban, the Police Chief had issued a 10-point operational order to guide the conduct of the Squad.
However, the Twitter storm and other social and street protests with the hashtag EndSARS was the game changer.