The death of a young man who was shot dead by officials of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) in Ughelli, Delta state on Saturday, has spurred renewed agitations for an end to their operations in the country.
Following the agitations, Mohammed Adamu, the inspector-general of police (IGP), banned operatives of the Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad (FSARS), the Special Tactical Squad (STS) and Intelligence Response Team (IRT) from undertaking routine patrols as well as stop and search duties.
“The IGP has warned the Tactical Squads against the invasion of the privacy of citizens particularly through indiscriminate and unauthorized search of mobile phones, laptops and other smart devices,” read a statement signed by Frank Mba, police spokesperson.
“They are to concentrate and respond only to cases of armed robbery, kidnapping and other violent crimes when the need arises.”
However, this isnt the first time the IGP is responding to protests by Nigerians against the acts of the (SARS).
Back in September 2018, an outcry over SARS brutality, Ibrahim Idris, the then IGP, issued a similar directive.
He had placed a ban on searching of handsets, laptops and gadgets of innocent citizens, unless the search is directly linked to a case or directed by IGP or any person or persons he so delegated.
In August 2018, then Acting-President Yemi Osinbajo directed Idris to overhaul SARS.
“Following persistent complaints and reports on the activities of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) that border on allegations of human rights violations, His Excellency, Professor Yemi Osinbajo SAN, Acting-President, Federal Republic of Nigeria, has directed the Inspector General of Police 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,” a statement from his office read.
idris had obeyed the directive by renaming the police outfit federal SARS (FSARS) and also ordered that operatives should go for psychiatric evaluation.
They were also asked to wear uniforms with identification tags.
Two years later, it appears nothing has changed, and again, the police boss is repeating the same directive.
Source: Naija News