Adamu Mohammed, the inspector-general of police, on Sunday, October 11, pronounced the immediate disbandment of the special anti-robbery squad (SARS) following nationwide protests over its brutality.
This abolition of SARS was announced by the IGP via a live broadcast after sustained protests across the country; due to the highhandedness of the officials
Earlier, top sources within the police and the presidency revealed on Saturday, October 11, that Adamu’s statement is being prepared; and will be publicised before the commencement of the new week.
1st News garnered that the IGP was scheduled to make the announcement on Friday after his meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari and Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo at the State House.
However, he was allegedly discouraged by the presidential spokesman Femi Adesina, who said the administration should not surrender to Twitter warriors.
Mr. Adesina then proceeded to issue the highly-criticised statement; that appeared to cast the president as insensitive to the #EndSARS campaign, which has gained worldwide backing over the past week.
The IGP has now finally been asked to “announce this afternoon as things are getting out of hand,” the Gazette learnt.
Mr. Adamu was also initially scheduled to meet with top civil society players in Abuja on Friday to make the announcement; which was preempted by Mr. Adesina’s interjection.
A top police source also revealed that President Buhari was finally convinced that the protest should not go into a new week; because it is a decentralised movement with millions of young people with little experience in public agitation.
However, announcing the disbandment on Sunday, “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 exist,” the IGP said.
The IGP at the press conference also noted that the current developments; and the outcry by sections of Nigerian have remained under constant monitoring; and due assessment by the government.
He also noted that the government acknowledges the inalienable rights of citizens to freedom of association and expression.
In the same vein, Force Public Relations Officer, Dcp Frank Mba, said: “the dissolution of SARS is in response to the yearnings of the Nigerian people”.
He explained 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”.
Mba, therefore, assured that a new policing arrangement to address anticipated policing gaps; in which the dissolution of SARS would cause has been evolved; and shall be announced in due course.
With the new development, all officers and men currently serving in the unit; are now expected to be redeployed with immediate effect.
According to the IGP, new policing arrangements to address the offences of armed robbery; and other violent crimes that fall within the mandate of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad will also be presented in due course.
He further noted that a citizens’ and strategic stakeholders’ forum will be formed to regularly interface with the leadership of the police at all levels and advice on police activities.