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FG To Probe SARS

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THE Federal Government is set to launch an investigation into the activities of the Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad (FSARS).

Minister of Police Affairs, Muhammad Dingyadi, said all victims of FSARS’ excesses will get justice; erring officers will be dealt with.

The police in Lagos released numbers through which complaints against officers can be made.

They are 09057597931 (WhatsApp), 09010512350, 09010512348 and 09090003792.

Press Secretary of the Minister, Osaigbovo Ehisienmen, in a statement in Abuja, quoted the minister as urging the police leadership to strengthen oversight mechanisms.

The minister added that the ministry’s newly inaugurated Servicom Unit has been mandated to work closely with the Police Public Complaint Unit and relevant department of the Police Service Commission to fast-track resolution of all cases of infraction against policemen and bring erring officers to book, to serve as a deterrent to others.

The Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, warned that any policeman caught violating any citizen’s right will be promptly arrested, dismissed and prosecuted.

Addressing police personnel deployed for election security duty in Ondo State, Adamu said he was deeply concerned about the re-surging trend of unprofessional conducts by some police personnel.

“I am in this instance, referring specifically to the excesses of personnel in the Federal and State Anti-Robbery Squad and other special units that operate in mufti.

“I am, therefore, sounding this note of warning loudly and clearly. Henceforth, any police personnel that insists on being incorrigible by engaging in abuse of his or her powers in a manner that degrades, endangers or threatens the life and other fundamental rights of the citizens shall be promptly arrested, processed through our internal disciplinary machinery and if found culpable, shall be dismissed from service.”

The Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) praised Adamu on his decision to ban men of the FSARS and tactical squads from routine patrol and stop and search duties.

The NGF, in a statement by its Chairman, Governor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State, issued through NGF spokesman, Abdulrazaque Bello-Barkindo, sought appropriate sanctions against law enforcement officers who have been lawless.

“The IGP’s instructions could not have come at a better time when a majority of Nigerians are unhappy with this cohort of police officers who have routinely engaged in unlawful killings and torture, thereby giving the Force a bad name.

“It is helpful to recall that SARS has been cautioned in the same manner before only for it to go back to its old ways.

“Our young people should not be criminalised simply on account of how they look or their mode of dressing or the cars they drive, the type of phone they carry, etc. This is an assault on their fundamental human rights.

“We think this is a timely clinical response by the leadership of the Nigerian Police Force and must specially commend IGP Adamu for his promptness and boldness.

“However, we hope that the announcement this time will promptly be followed by action and that there will be no reversal to the unorthodox enforcement practices being complained against.

“We call for appropriate sanctions against law enforcement officers that have been lawless and irresponsible in the exercise of their duties against ordinary Nigerians,” NGF said.

The Minister of Youth and Sports, Sunday Dare, during a visit to Adamu, expressed concern about the criminalisation of youths by men of the FSARS.

He told the IGP: “The youth of this country are not all criminals. Profiling should stop.”

The Delta State Commissioner for Information, Mr Charles Aniagwu, said contrary to claims on the social media, nobody died in the incident in Ughelli that sparked an outrage.

Also, the state police command spokesman, Onome Onomewakpoyeya, said the viral video of SARS Operatives purportedly shooting a young man and leaving with his Lexus Jeep was misleading.

He said in a statement: “On 3rd of October, 2020 at about 1600hrs, operatives of Safe Delta Squad in Ughelli, while on patrol along Warri/Ughelli by Wetland Hotel Ughelli, observed a white Lexus Jeep without registration number that suddenly parked by the roadside, which on sighting police patrol team, zoomed off at high speed in a suspicious manner.

“It could be recalled that it is under similar circumstances that some kidnappers recently kidnapped a woman who was with her two children in her car in the same Ughelli…before they were later arrested in Patani.

“Consequently, the team gave them a hot chase and they successfully intercepted the vehicle and arrested the two occupants.

“On their way to the station with the arrested suspects inside the police patrol vehicle, one of the suspects jumped out of the moving vehicle and sustained body and head injuries.

“While trying to rescue him, an angry mob came out to attack the policemen which made the team leave the scene with the other suspect in their patrol vehicle to their office to avoid a violent confrontation with the mob.

“However, other police patrol teams were promptly mobilised to the scene but were informed that the victim had been rushed to a private hospital in Ughelli by passers-by.

“The patrol team immediately visited the victim in the hospital where he is being treated and saw him alive and recuperating.”

A member of the House of Representatives, Akin Alabi, filed a motion for an urgent dissolution of SARS.

In the document sighted by The Nation, Alabi, the lawmaker representing Egbeda/Ona Ara Constituency, said there was enough evidence to proscribe SARS immediately, warning that the unit has committed enough atrocities.

“Policing in Nigeria continues to fall short of modern practices where citizens should be treated with utmost respect and decorum, therefore making it very difficult for an average citizen to truly trust that the police are their friends,” Alabi said.

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