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Security: Why Adamu, IGP, Banned SARS And Other Tactical Squads Personnel From Routine Patrol And Other Conventional Duties

 By Elizabeth Chukwuma

Not many people were surprised that barely two years after the decentralisation  of  the Operations of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad, SARS Unit, and the establishment of  other tactical squads  by Mohammed Adamu , the Inspector General of Police,IGP, he could  bow to pressure ah to ban them from the road, with a warnings  never to go out on operation without uniform  for proper identification.

Fatai Owoseni, a one-time Commissioner of Police  in Lagos state said the ban of the SARS, was not the solution to bringing the officers to their right senses to  do carry out their Constitutional Responsibility of fighting Crime .  Owoseni  had said that the best way to handle the matter  ‘’is to properly audit  the internal oversight mechanism  that is in place’’.  

Adamu , the IGP, had reorganised  the operations  of the SARS following  alleged unethical  conduct  by officers  deployed to the Unit.  With the decentralization of the operations of the Unit, he IGP, had made it clear  that the Deputy Inspector General of Police, Force Criminal Investigation Department, DIGFCID,  and the state Commissioners of Police , CPs, who had assumed full Command  and control on all SARS operations, particular, in their Commands would be held  liable  for any professional misconducts of the Unit personnel in their Commands.

Adamu:IGP

In spite of the fact that the SARS   Operations was decentralised in 2019 by the police IGP, there had been criticisms against the SARS personnel  as people called for its disbandment over alleged atrocities. The former Lagos state Police Commissioner and now, security Adviser to Seyi Makinde, governor of Oyo state had accused the SARS Operatives of failing  ‘’to abide   by the rules and regulations that govern them in the discharge of their duties’’.

  Omo-Agege ,a Deputy Senate President may have dropped a bomb shell when he said the activities of the personnel of the Unit have not helped in curbing criminal activities in the society , as the SARS personnel have been linked  with several cases of extra-judicial killings, harassment , illegal arrest and extortion   of  defenseless  citizens  in different parts of the country.

 He had cited the shooting of a man by the SARS Operatives  in his Senatorial District  in Ugheli, Delta state  over the victim’s  alleged refusal  to allow the Operatives to search his phone . He had lend his voice for a Comprehensive reform s and overhaul of the security units in the country, particular, SARS.

Atiku Abubakar, a one -time Vice President and former Presidential Candidate of the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, in the 2019, Presidential elections who could not hide his feelings had described the SARS, personnel as ‘’Oppressor  of the people  it was supposed to protect  from criminal activities’’.

SARS Personnel In Action

Abubakar, had said that  that the police Anti-Robbery Squad was set  up  to confront  violent crimes  in the society such as armed robbery , kidnapping and other related  offences but it  had had turned into an oppressor of the Nigerian masses who strive  every day  for a better life. He cited ‘’reports   of intimidation , harassment  and outright extortion  by officers of SARS, which had continued unabated , an indication that the DIGFCID and the CPs had failed in their control of the SARS personnel Operations  in their respective Commands , Zonal and Federal level.    

Bukola Saraki, a former Senate President , who is not happy  over the continued  harassment , illegal arrest, detention  and high handedness by rogue cells  of the SARS Unit of the police against Nigerians, mostly young people  in spite of the police Authorities effort to reform the  Force  and raise standards of policing , may have joined Abukar ,a former Vice President and other Nigerians to call for the reform of the Police Anti-Robbery Squad.

Sunday Dare , minister of Youths and Sports may have provided the ammunition for the IGP to take the extreme action of banning the Anti-Robbery personnel from Patrols based on the report  from other government relevant agencies which had  investigated their operations which was very damning.

Dare, who was worried about  the  menace , increasing  harassments and attacks by the SARS , personnel on innocent Nigerians   was said to have brought it to the attention of Department of State Security, DSS, and other  relevant security agencies  in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, to step into the matter  in order to protect the youths and the Fundamental Human Rights of every Nigerian.

Perhaps, what may have forced the IGP to cave in to people’s demand to gag the Anti-Robbery Squad  was the viral video  and a  Statement  by a concerned Nigerian man  alleging  that  his driver connived with  SARS personnel  to harass and extort  him of N0.1 million  on September 25, 2020,  which may have embarrassed he Force Authorities.

 This may have informed why the IGP quickly expedited action ,to ’’ban SARS and the other tactical squads personnel Operating  at the Federal, Zonal and Command levels from carrying out  routine Patrols and other Conventional  duties –stop and search, checkpoints, mounting of roadblocks, traffic checks among others with immediate effect’’ to avoid further abuse of office.

 The ban may have come barely few hours after Enoch Adeboye Adejare,  the General Overseer of the Redeem Christian Church of God, RCCG, called on President Muhammadu Buhari, a retired Army General, last  to move fast  to restructure the country to avoid  disintegration.    

 The IGP may have read the Riot Act to the Officers when he said ‘’ no personnel  of  the Force  is authorised  to embark on Patrols   or tactical assignments  in mufti’’, insisting that ’’they must always appear in police Uniform or approved tactical gear’’.  Frank Mba, a Deputy Commissioner of Police, DCP, and the Force Spokesperson  said the IGP, took the decision  to ban SARS, Special tactical squads, Intelligence Rsponse Team, IRT, Ant-cultism Squads  and other police tactical squads at the backdrop  of the findings  by the leadership of the Force  that ’’a few personnel of the tactical squads  hide under the guise of being members of the quads  ‘’to perpetrate  all forms of illegality’’, contrary to  the Standard Operating Procedure, sop, Code  of Conduct and Rules of Engagement  establishing he squads.

The no nonsense Adamu, who has the ear of  the Katsna state born Nigerian President  may have disarmed the tactical  squads personnel  when he warned against the invasion  of the privacy  of individuals , particular,  through  the usual indiscriminate  and unauthorised search  of mobile phones, laptops and other smart devices.

Osibajo: VP, Gave Kudos To Adamu For Banning SARS Personnel From Routine Patrols

 Although, the IGP, had read the riot Act to the Officers, he could not hide his feelings as he had told those that cares to listen that  that ‘’SARS and the other police tactical squads  remain critical  component  of the Force  in confronting  prevailing  and emerging violent  crimes in the society

. He may have given a signal that to the Force tactical squads personnel that they would not return to the road  but their Operation this time they would be ‘’to concentrate  and respond to cases of armed robbery, kidnapping and other violent crimes in the society when the need arise’’.

The police IGP, may have won the heart of Yemi Osibajo, a Professor and the country’s Vice President for banning  SARS personnel,  particular, from routine Patrol and other Conventional duties as he gave kudos to him.

He is optimistic of a new  Anti-Robbery squad. An aggrieved Osinbajo, had  described ‘’the routine attacks on young people is infuriating’’. Appealing to the  Force to stick to its mandates of confronting crimes, kidnapping and other violent crimes in the country, the Vice President maintained that it is the only way to win the confidence and support of the people. He is right.

.Many believe that the problems which the reorganised SARS  the other police tactical squads had caused the country  over the last two years could not have  occurred if Adamu, the  IGP, had allowed strictly  the ban on SARS to stop indiscriminate search of the individuals, handsets and laptops and raid on Individual homes  to stay in force instead of giving them a  blank cheque to continue in their old ways of operation.

Recall that Ibrahim  Idris, the former IGP, had told the  SARS  personnel  and other tactical squads under his Administration that they could  only embark on embark on stop and search Operation if it is linked to a case directed by him or another Authority   delegated to do so.

Osinbajo, may have gladdened the heart of Nigerians when he confirmed that  Buhari  was not unaware of the illegal Operations of the SARS personnel and  now  wants   to see a reform.   He had said  that the President had already  discussed the issue with the IGP, showing his concern.  He further disclosed that he had equally held  a meeting with the Force helmsman where all the issues raiseed  against the SARS and the other tactical squads personnel were reviewed.  He is optimistic of the country  may  soon have  a ‘’reformed Police Force as the process have begun’’.     

Stephen Ubanna

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