The Foundation for Justice and Rehabilitation of Prisoners, a human rights group, has commended the presidential directive for the overhauling of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad, (SARS) of the Nigeria Police.
The Project Secretary of the foundation, Ms Cynthia Okere, who gave the commendation in a statement issued on Friday, also lauded the rapid response by the Inspector-General of Police, Mr Ibrahim Idris.
Okere said that the immediate compliance with the Presidential directive by the police had led to structural mechanism, channeled toward overhauling of SARS.
According to her, such step will address complaints and allegations on human rights violations against some of the personnel of SARS by some members of the public in some parts of the country.
“Our joyful attention has been drawn to the Presidential directive on immediate overhauling of Special Anti – Robbery Squad (SARS) of the Nigeria police force and without mincing words, the directive is highly commendable.
“The conception and initiative of such directive is a reflection that the Presidency heard the cry of Nigerian masses and agitation for urgent measures to curtail excesses of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad across the nation.
“It is a sign that the Federal Government of Nigeria is truly committed to social justice of the Nigerian masses.
“We congratulate the Vice-President, Prof.Yemi Osinbajo, for this people-oriented directive.
“Wealso congratulate Nigerians for breeze of hope on respect for human rights.” Okere said.
She said that if due diligence was ensured to comply with the structural mechanism as laid down, the Nigeria Police would reduce and refine the battered image of the Federal SARS.
Okere said that the beauty of the overhauling mechanism was a clear emphasis on operational guide of the new arrangement for the FSARS, to make it intelligence driven.
The group also commended the operational restriction of FSARS to the prevention and detection of armed robbery, kidnapping and the apprehension of offenders linked to the stated offences only.
“This we believe will definitely disarm the FSARS personnel from unnecessary harassment, intimidation and extortion of the Nigerian masses as done in their previous unprofessional businesses.
“Our foundation further commends the IGP on readiness to adhere strictly to the rule of law and due regards to international human rights law and constitutionally guaranteed rights of suspects.
“We commend the IGP for his promise to enforce, in totality, the new standard operational guidelines and procedures.”
According to her, the police readiness to be transparent, cooperate, and work cordially with the National Human Rights Commission to investigate and address grievances from the public against the personnel of FSARS is commendable.
She noted that such action was another evidence and signal that the country was setting International Standards on respect for fundamental human rights.
“Incorporation of the Human Rights/ Civil Society Organisations (CSO) into a committee with Senior Police Officers to review activities of FSARS is the height of transparency and cooperation to refining the image of Nigeria Police.
“We urge the National Human Rights Commission to take this advantage to raise its structure and ensure proper and easy accessible channels of complaints by members of the public, in the circumstance of infractions and violations to constitutional rights.
“There must be respect for International Human Rights Laws. Various State Commands are also enjoined to ensure compliance with this laudable and commendable directive.”
The group expressed readiness to support the Force Headquarters and the Federal Government in the journey to attaining human rights friendly environment for the nation.