*Police Rename SARS ‘Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad’ (FSARS)
Acting President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo has directed investigations into the activities of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) following persistent allegations bordering on human rights violations.
This is even as he has directed the Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris to immediately overhaul the management and activities of the squad.
In a statement signed by Laolu Akande, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity (Office of the Vice President), Osinbajo said that a new SARS that is intelligence driven should emerge from the process.
He also directed the National Human Rights Commission to set up a panel to investigate the alleged unlawful activities of SARS.
“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.
“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,” it read.
The social media especially twitter has been awash with posts by some Nigerians, alleging human rights violations by SARS and calling on the federal government to ‘END SARS’.
On twitter, the hashtag #EndSARS trended for several months.
Meanwhile, the Nigeria Police Force acting, in tune to Acting President Yemi Osinbajo’s order, has immediately ordered the re-ordering of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS).
After months of agitation by the Nigerian people over the extra-judicial and high-headedness of personnel of SARS, Osinbajo ordered the Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris Kpotum, to make an overhaul of the department of the Police force.
After what it seems to be a total disregard of the first order made on 4th of December, 2017, the Police had for the second time announced a re-ordering of SARS operation nationwide.
According to a statement released by Jimoh Moshood, Public Relations Officer of the Police, the IGP said the department had been renamed as Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad (FSARS) as SARS teams nationwide would work under FSARS.
Similar to the previous reordering, the Police said that a new Commissioner of Police has been appointed as the overall head of the Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad nationwide.
The re-ordering would ensure that FSARS will operate as an intelligence-driven and will be restricted to the prevention and detection of Armed Robbery, kidnapping and the apprehension of offenders linked to the stated offences only.
“The Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad previously under the Force Criminal Intelligence and Investigations Department (FCIID) is henceforth to operate under the Department of Operations, Force Headquarters Abuja. The Commissioner of Police (FSARS) is answerable to the Inspector General of Police through the Deputy Inspector General of Police, Department of Operations.”
The IGP said officers to be appointed as head of SARS must not be below the rank of Superintendent of Police (SP).
“A Federal SARS Commander of a Rank of Chief Superintendent of Police (CSP) but not below Superintendent of Police (SP) will be in charge of FSARS in State and Zonal Commands across the Country,” he said.
All state commissioners of police were ordered to ensure the new arrangement is strictly adhered to while mandating IGP X-Squad and Monitoring Unit to go round the Commands and Police Formations nationwide to ensure strict compliance with the Presidential directives and apprehend any erring police officer.
The Police IG additionally stated that a new operational guideline would be put in place and strictly adhered to in ensuring FSARS personnel act in line to the rule of law and with due regards to international human rights law.
“A new Standard Operational Guidelines and Procedures, and code of conduct for all FSARS personnel to ensure that the operations of the Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad is in strict adherence to the rule of law and with due regards to international human rights law and constitutionally guaranteed rights of suspects will be enforced in totality by the Commissioner of Police, FSARS.”
While announcing a new training for FSARS personnel, the Police also insisted it would be transparent and work cordially with the National Human Rights Commission to conduct an investigation of the alleged unlawful activities of FSARS to address grievances from the public.
According to the Police, other measures to be implemented by the Force in observance of full compliance with the presidential directives are as follows:
i. Human Rights Desk Officers for FSARS in every State to take complaints from the public and forward same to Force Headquarters, the officer will be answerable to the Commissioner of Police, FSARS at the Force Headquarters and not Commander FSARS in the States.
ii. Medical/Psychological evaluation of all FSARS personnel will be carried out immediately.
iii. Redesigning of new uniform with identity name tag for all FSARS personnel throughout the Country will be done immediately.
iv. Henceforth, FSARS personnel will not perform Stop and Search duties except on distress call to respond to armed robbery and kidnapping offences only.
The Police further provided hotdesk numbers that the public can immediately call whenever they are being assaulted by personnel of FSARS:
i. DIG, Department of Operations: 08037025670
ii. IGP X-SQUAD
0902 690 0729, 08078662130, 08174041000 – CALLS
0903 227 8905 – SMS
0903 562 1377 – whatsapp
iii. IGP Monitoring Unit: email@example.com, 08036242591
iv. Commissioner of Police, FSARS: 08033476852
v. FORCE PUBLIC COMPLAINT BUREAU
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
vi. PUBLIC COMPLAINT RAPID RESPONSE UNIT (PCRRU)
08057000001 – Calls Only
08057000002 – Calls Only
08057000003 – SMS & whatsapp only
vii. firstname.lastname@example.org, 08027757359
viii. email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, 09051133035
x. email@example.com, 07037887630