In the finest spirit of democratic, citizen-centered and community policing, the Inspector-General of Police, IGP Mohammed Adamu, on Sunday, 11th October, 2020, dissolved the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) across the 36 State Police Commands and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) where they hitherto existed.
The IGP, while noting that the dissolution of SARS is in response to the yearnings of the Nigerian people, observes that by this dissolution, all officers and men of the now defunct Special Anti-robbery Squad are being redeployed with immediate effect.
The IGP notes that the Force is not oblivious of the ever present need to combat armed robbery, kidnapping and other violent crimes in the country which was before now the core mandate of the erstwhile Squad. He assures that a new policing arrangement to address anticipated policing gaps the dissolution of SARS would cause has been evolved and shall be announced in due course.
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 will constitute 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 believes, 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.
The IGP appreciates and commends all citizens particularly those who genuinely express their concerns for a better policing orientation in an organized, patriotic and civil manner. He reaffirms the determination of the Force to bequeath to the country a Police Force and System that is professional in service delivery and most importantly, accountable to the people.
The full text of IGP Adamu speech on scrapping of SARS reads –
“It is with a sense of patriotism and commitment to my professional calling that I invited you (Media) to this important press briefing to address critical internal security issues.
The current development in which cross sections of Nigerians are calling for the scrapping of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad as a unit in the Nigerian Police Force, has remained under constant monitoring and due assessment by the government.
The government acknowledges the inalienable rights of citizens to freedom of association and expression. The current agitation, in this context, is seen as a manifestation of the natural desire of citizens to participate in matters concerning policing and internal security in the nation. This is indeed one of the fundamental principles of Community policing, which we are currently implementing.
The Nigerian Police leadership has since the commencement of the protests, been engaging the leadership of some civil society organizations with a view to initiating meaningful and wide-ranging discussions on the subjects of their concern.
Our valued covenant with the citizens of this nation is to serve and protect them and integrate their concerns and views into our practices, especially within the dictates of community policing principles, which constitutes a critical component of the National Policing and Internal Security Strategy of the federal government.
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 is hereby directed as follows –
1. The Special Anti-Robbery Squad of the Nigerian Police, otherwise known as SARS is hereby dissolved across all formations, the 36 states Police Commands and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) where they currently exist.
2. All officers and men currently serving in the unit are to be deployed with immediate effect.
3. New Policing arrangements to address the offences of armed robbery and other violent crimes that fall within the mandate of the dissolved SARS shall be presented in due course.
4. 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.
5. To deal with the reports of crimes committed against citizens, an investigation team will be constituted which will include civil society organizations for transparency, and culprits will be punished.
I commend the vast majority of men and women of the Nigerian Police who are diligently going about their duties, guided by the dictates of the rule of law, honour and professionalism. I encourage them to sustain their sense of national service, sacrifice, patriotism and commitment to crime fighting. Their gallant efforts to ensure the safety of the lives and property of all Nigerians are very much appreciated.
I also commend all citizens that have voiced their genuine concerns for a better policing orientation in an organized, patriotic and civil manner.
I assure the nation of our firm determination to advance our police reform agenda with a view to bequeathing to our beloved nation, a police institution and system that are not only accountable to the citizens, but professional in all components of its service delivery. I call on all citizens to partner us in our drive for a peaceful and secure internal security order
I thank you all and pray for Allah’s (SWT) continued protection on our beloved nation.”
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