Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, Nigeria Vice President, yesterday directed the Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, to commence investigations into allegations of abuses by the Special Anti-Robbery Squad of the Nigeria police, otherwise known as SARS.
He also ordered the Police boss to overhaul the squad with immediate effect, to make it strictly intelligence-driven and restricted to the prevention and detection of armed robbery, kidnapping, and apprehension of offenders linked to the stated offences, and nothing more.
Osinbajo’s directive to the police boss came following the outcry against the special police squad by members of the public nationwide. This order came as the Methodist Church of Nigeria called on the federal government to overhaul the nation’s security apparatus to curb the wanton destruction of lives and properties in different regions of the country.
The Vice President in a statement signed by his spokesman, Laolu Akande, in Abuja, further directed that operatives of the squad should, henceforth, bear proper identification anytime they are on duty.
The statement read: “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.” He also directed the National Human Rights Commission, NHRC, to set up a special panel to conduct an investigation of the alleged unlawful activities of SARS in order to afford the public the opportunity to present their grievances with a view to ensuring redress.