…Orders for overhaul of squad
By Johnbosco Agbakwuru
ABUJA- WORRIED by the plethora of complaints over human rights abuses by the Special Anti-Robbery Squad of the Nigeria police, otherwise known as SARS, the Acting President, Yemi Osinbajo has directed the Inspector-General of Police, IGP Ibrahim Idris to commence investigations on the allegations.
The Acting President has also ordered the Police boss to overhaul the squad with immediate effect to make it strictly 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.
Osinbajo in a statement on Tuesday in Abuja signed by his spokesman, Laolu Akande further directed that the operatives should henceforth bear proper identification anytime they are on duty.
The statement read, “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.”
He 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.