Tuesday, August 14, 2018 5.40PM / Proshare WebTV
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.
In the meantime, the Acting President has 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.
This is a major credit to Mr Sega Awosanya who led a movement with the Hashtags #ENDSARS and #ReformPoliceNG mobilizing efforts across the country, to engage the Nigerian police and citizens, on better ways of engagement devoid of harassment, unlawful arrests, brutality, infringement of fundamental human rights and unlawful killings.
Speaking on the decision Mr Awosanya commended the decision of the Acting President, but stated that beyond restructuring and overhauling the SARs wing of the police force there is need to reform to reposition the security institution.
According to him it is critical to ensure that the Nigerian police force and all the wings and operations under it operates in alignment with the global best practices on policing.
Celebrities like musicians Ruggedman and Korede Bello have all been involved in the #ENDSARS and #ReformPoliceNG campaign making a strong case for an end to brutality from the Anti-Robbery squad, saddled with the responsibility of detecting and preventing armed robbery/kidnapping.