By Ayo Kehinde
Acting President, Yemi Osinbajo has ordered the immediate overhaul of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad, SARS of the Nigeria Police Force. He also ordered the National Human Rights Commission to set un a panel to probe the activities of the squad.
In a directive to the Inspector General of Police, IGP, Ibrahim Idris, on Tuesday, Osinbajo ordered the withdrawal of SARS from active duty with immediate effect until the unit has been reformed.
There has been public hue and cry over the unbecoming attitude of SARS, with many Nigerians narrating incidences of extra-judicial arrests, detention, harassment and maltreatment.
In a statement by Mr Laolu Akande, Special Media Assistant to Osinbajo, the new brand SARS expected to emerge from the overhaul would be faced with two main duties, namely, armed robbery and kidnapping and the officers must wear identity anytime they are on duty.
Akande Said in the statement, “Following persistent complaints and reports on the activities of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) that border on allegations of human rights violations, Acting President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, has directed the Inspector General of Police (IGP) 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 to the rule of law and with due regard to International Human Rights Law and the constitutionally guaranteed rights of suspects. “The operatives should also bear proper identification anytime they are on duty.”
Osinbajo also directed the National Human Rights Commission to set up a Special Panel that will conduct an 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.