By Michael Ogbonna
After days of nationwide protests against the highhandedness of the Special Anti Robbery Squad (SARS) of the police, the Inspector-General, Mohammed Adamu today announced the scrapping of the special unit.
Here are the details of his speech in which he made the announcement:
Gentlemen of the Press
It is with sense of patriotism and commitment to my professional calling that I invited you to this important press briefing to address critical internal security issues.
2. The current development in which cross sections of Nigerians are calling for the scrapping of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad as a Unit in the Nigeria Police Force has remained under constant monitoring and due assessment by the government.
3. The government acknowledges the inalienable rights of citizens to freedom of association and expression. The current agitation, in this context, is seen as a manifestation of the natural desire of citizens to participate in matters concerning policing and internal security in the nation. This is indeed one of the fundamental principles of Community Policing, which we are currently implementing.
4. The Nigeria Police leadership has, since the commencement of the protests, been engaging the leadership of some Civil Society Organisations with a view to initiating meaningful and wide-ranging discussions on the subjects of their concern.
5. Our valued covenant with the citizens of this nation is to serve and protect them and integrate their concerns and views into our practices, especially within the dictates of community policing principles, which constitute a critical component of the National Policing and Internal Security Strategy of the Federal Government.
6. Following a review of the current developments, and in due cognizance of the wide and legitimately held concerns of well-meaning citizens on the existence and operations of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad, as a responsive and citizens-oriented Police Force, it is hereby directed as follows:
1. The Special Anti-Robbery Squad of the Nigeria Police, otherwise known as SARS, is hereby dissolved across all Formations, the 36 State Police Commands and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) where they currently exist.
2. All officers and men currently serving in the Unit are to be redeployed with immediate effect.
3. New policing arrangements to address the offences of armed robbery, and other violent crimes that fall within the mandate of the dissolved Special Anti-Robbery Squad shall be presented in due course.
4. A Citizens and Strategic Stakeholders’ Forum will be formed to regularly interface with the leadership of the police at all levels and advice on police activities.
5. To deal with the reports of crimes committed against citizens, an investigation team will be constituted which will include civil society organisations for transparency, and culprits will be punished.
7. I commend the vast majority of men and women of the Nigeria Police who are diligently going about their duties, guided by the dictates of the rule of law, honour and professionalism. I encourage them to sustain their sense of national service, sacrifice, patriotism and commitment to crime-fighting. Their gallant efforts to ensure the safety of the lives and property of all Nigerians are very much appreciated.
8. I also commend all citizens that have voiced their genuine concerns for a better policing orientation in an organised, patriotic, and civil manner.
9. I assure the nation of our firm determination to advance our police reform agenda with a view to bequeathing to our beloved nation a police institution and system that are not only accountable to the citizens, but professional in all components of its service delivery. I call on all citizens to partner with us in our drive for a peaceful and secure internal security order.
10. I thank you all and pray for Allah’s (SWT) continued protection on our beloved nation.
IGP Mohammed A. Adamu, NPM, mni
Inspector General of Police
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