The Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, has banned the personnel of the Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad (FSARS) and other Tactical Squads of the Force from embarking on routine patrols.
This IGP’s ban was contained in a statement issued on Sunday by the Force, Public Relations Officer, Frank Mba.
The statement said the IGP “banned the personnel of the Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad (FSARS) and other Tactical Squads of the Force including the Special Tactical Squad (STS), Intelligence Response Team (IRT), Anti-Cultism Squad and other Tactical Squads operating at the Federal, Zonal and Command levels, from carrying out routine patrols and other conventional low-risk duties – stop and search duties, checkpoints, mounting of roadblocks, traffic checks, etc – with immediate effect.”
The officers were warned against carrying out stop and search duties, checkpoints, mounting of roadblocks, traffic checks, etc with immediate effect.
According to the Force spokesman, the IGP warned the Tactical Squads against the invasion of the privacy of citizens particularly.
This, he said, included the “indiscriminate and unauthorized search of mobile phones, laptops and other smart devices,” adding that “they are to concentrate and respond only to cases of armed robbery, kidnapping and other violent crimes when the need arises.”
Mba said the “directives come against the backdrop of findings by the leadership of the Force that a few personnel of the Tactical Squads hide under these guises to perpetrate all forms of illegality, contrary to the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP), Code of Conduct and Rules of Engagement establishing the squads.”
Following the alleged brutality by security operatives in several parts of the country, many Nigerians took to the social media to express their anger over the activities of men of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad of the Nigerian police, calling for the unit to be proscribed.
On Saturday, the #EndSars hashtag was the number one trend on social media app, Twitter for several hours, bringing back to the fore calls for the proper handling of rogue, high-handed police officials.
The outrage appeared to have been triggered by a post from a Twitter user who said he recorded SARS officials shooting “a young boy dead at Ughelli, Delta state . . . in front of Wetland hotels. They left him for dead on the roadside and drove away with the deceased Lexus jeep.”