Following days of protest by Nigerians, the Inspector General of Police, IGP Mohammed Adamu, yesterday, dissolved all the formations of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) across the country.
Adamu, while announcing the disbandment, said in the finest spirit of democratic, citizen-centred and community policing, the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) across the 36 State Police Commands and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) where they hitherto existed are hereby dissolved.
The IGP, while noting that the dissolution of SARS is in response to the yearnings of the Nigerian people, said all officers and men of the now-defunct Special Anti-robbery Squad are being redeployed with immediate effect.
Speaking at a press briefing at the Force headquarters, the IGP said, “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 hereby directed as follows:
“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”.
“All officers and men currently serving in the Unit are to be redeployed with immediate effect”.
“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”.
“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”.
“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.”
Meanwhile, as part of measures to prevent a re-occurrence of events that gave rise to the dissolution of SARS, a Citizens’ and Strategic Stakeholders’ Forum is being formed to regularly interface with Police leadership at all levels and advise on police activities as they affect the general public.
In addition, the Force is constituting an Investigation Team, which shall include Civil Society Organizations and Human Rights bodies to work with the Police in investigating alleged cases of human rights violations.
The measure, the IGP said, will enhance transparency and accountability in police services as well as providing a system of deterrence for erring police officers whose action clearly violates the rights of the citizenry.
It would be recalled that Nigerians all over the world and foreigners, who are sympathetic to the misgivings of SARS have been protesting and calling for the dissolution of SARS for over five days now.