19th May 2024

Nigeria’s special police force, the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), has been disbanded amid heavy protest against actions of the group by Nigerians across the world.

The Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, on Sunday afternoon ordered all officers and men of the now defunct Special Anti-robbery Squad to be redeployed with immediate effect.

SARS is a branch of the Nigerian police under the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) instituted to stem crime.

Some claim the SARS, which is supposed to fight robbery, kidnapping and violent clashes in the country, had turned to abuse citizens rather than to protect them.

Many Nigerians took to the streets in major cities to protest what they describe as ‘SARS’ brutality’. Other nationals, in solidarity with Nigerians, also embarked on protests in their countries.

A social media campaign with the hashtag “#ENDSARS” was also launched, a campaign which attracted support from many renowned personalities including media personnel, clergy, movie and music stars, politicians among others.

Social media get results

According to the IGP, the dissolution of SARS was in response to the yearnings of Nigerians.

He noted that the Force was 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 assured 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, the IGP said, “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 maintain law and order across the country,” a Nigerian police source said.

Praise for Ghana Police

Meanwhile, the Ghana Police Service has been at the receiving end for praise from internet users who compared the professionalism of Ghana Police officers and men to their counterparts in Nigeria.

The twist to favour Ghana came when a Nigerian immigrant (in Ghana) shared an experience on Twitter about her encounter with the Ghana Police Service, which resonated with a lot of Twitter users especially foreigners, who then called for such professionalism to be emulated in the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

Adedoyin Debbie, the Nigerian immigrant wrote on Twitter: “No jokes, the first time I saw Ghana Police and they stopped us on our way back to our Airbnb apartment around 2am, they were so polite. I was asleep and the Police woke me up to be sure that I wasn’t kidnapped or something, after he confirmed, he let us go. I felt safe in Ghana.”

She continued: “I have never felt safe in Nigeria, I am always scared of the cops because they are rude, uncouth, could kill you, extort money from you. They are everything worse, the Police itself needs to be REFORMED, but for not ENDSARS”.

The tweet from Adedoyin Debbie has made the Ghana Police Service trend on Twitter for a while with some users sharing similar experiences they encountered with the police.

 

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