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FG bows to pressure, bans FSARS, Tactical Squads from routine patrols

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THE Federal Government has finally heeded the public call to ban the dreaded Federal Special Ant-Robbery Squad (FSARS).

Mohammed Adamu, the Inspector General of Police, also suspended the Special Tactical Squads (STS) from routine patrols.

With this ban, the Police personnel are to desist from, “carrying out routine patrols, and other low-risk duties – stop and search duties, checkpoints, mounting of roadblocks, traffic checks, etc. with immediate effect.”

Other special units affected by the directive include Intelligence Response Team (IRT), Anti-Cultism Squad including other tactical squads operating at the Federal, Zonal and Command Levels.

A statement issued by Frank Mba, Police spokesperson on Sunday, also banned the security personnel from embarking on patrols or any other tactical assignments dressed in mufti.

“They must always appear in their police uniforms or approved tactical gear,” the statement reads in part.

Adamu warned the officials, especially the tactical squads from invading people’s privacy specifically through, “indiscriminate and unauthorised search of mobile phones, laptops and other smart devices.”

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“They are to concentrate and respond only to cases of armed robbery, kidnapping and other violent crimes when the need arises.”

The IGP who described FSARS and the tactical team as critical components of the force, however, frowned at the team’s lack of professional conduct and abuse of people’s rights.

He told the X-Squad of the force and its monitoring unit to embark on an immediate nationwide monitoring exercise of the operational activities of tactical teams as well as other security operatives found on the road.

“They are to ensure prompt arrest, investigation and prosecution of erring police officers who violate these directives and other extant regulations of the force

Adamu said the Commissioner of Police in charge of FSARS, Commissioner of Police in charge of State Commands and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) including Zonal Assistant Inspectors Generals of Police would be held responsible for any misdeeds of officers within their supervision.

Nigerians at the weekend earlier cried out over reported abuse of people’s rights and flagrant shooting of youths by the SARS unit across selected states in the country.

The reported incidents pulled public condemnation of the force while notable Nigerians called for the disbandment of the police unit.

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The ICIR in April reported about the indiscriminate arrest and killing by men of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad when a rising footballer star arrested by the police died while running away from the policemen.

After his death, many other young Nigerians across the country have been killed by the dreaded police squad.

Aside from abuse of human rights, several other allegations have been levelled against the controversial police unit.

For instance, at the weekend, Atiku Abubakar, former Vice President of the country, Festus Keyamo, a cabinet member of the present administration, Sunday Dare, the Minister of Youth and Support among others faulted operational strategies of the SARS unit and called for a review.

The Police spokesperson, however, announced the arrest of Inspectors Monday Uchiola, Okechukwu Ogbonna and Sale James of the Police Command for what he described as unprofessional conduct, extortion and intimidation of innocent citizens.

Olugbenga is an Investigative Reporter with The ICIR. Do you have a scoop? Shoot him an email at [email protected] Twitter Handle: @OluAdanikin

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