JUST IN: IGP Disbands SARS After Widespread Protests

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Adamu Mohammed, the inspector-general of police, has announced the immediate disbandment of the special anti-robbery squad (SARS) following nationwide protests over its brutality.

Adamu made the announcement of the dissolution on Sunday, days after widespread protests demanding a scrapping of the unit over allegations of brutality and human rights violations.

The Special Anti-Robbery Squad of the Nigerian Police, otherwise known as SARS, is hereby dissolved across all formations, the 36 state police command and the Federal Capital Territory where they currently exists,” the IGP said.

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 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 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 unit was founded in 1992 to combat cases of armed robbery, kidnapping, and other violent crimes. But SARS, instead, over time, has gained notoriety for its reckless intimidation of innocent civilians through puerile profiling and wanton abuse of power.

Citizens persisted in protests which soon gained global attention as world figures and celebrities joined in.

The police also dispersed a crowd of protesters in Abuja with live bullets, water cannons and tear gas on Sunday.

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