Reformed SARS to fight violent crimes
THE Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) will now focus on violent crimes, Inspector-General Ibrahim Idris has said.
The police chief spoke yesterday in Abuja at the last meeting of the year with Commissioners of Police and other senior officers.
He warned police officers to avoid temptation from politicians as the 2019 election draws near.
Describing the election year as “critical”, the IG urged police personnel to be professional and steadfast.
Idris said contrary to claims that the police kept disobeying court orders, which asked it to unseal Peace Corp Headquarters building located in Jabi area of Abuja, the Police had appealed the order.
The police also said it asked the court to stay execution of the judgment.
Commissioner of Police, SARS, Haliru Gwandu, who spoke on the reorganisation in the squad, said: “Under the reorganisation, the SARS now will be under the supervision of CP Commands.
“The commands will supervise the activities of SARS and the central administration will now be under the FSARS.”
On their area of focus, Gwandu said: “There are so many things that SARS are asked not to do. For now, they are going to concentrate only on violent crimes, robbery, kidnapping, murder, cultism and other related violence.
“Also, those tactical teams in the commands, zones and divisions, who usually wear the outfit of SARS, will no longer wear it.
“The issue of extrajudicial killings and other crimes will be a thing of the past. They will also be attending local and international training and retraining that will focus on human rights to make SARS friendly to the population.”
Gwandu, promising that the reorganisation would lead to a better SARS, also said the activities of the squad would be reported to members of the public to avoid infractions.
On the 2019 election, the IG said: “Officers should be aware that from next year, we are entering a critical phase in the political space of this country and this critical phase includes most of the elections to be conducted.
“Officers should be steadfast and obviously do their best to ensure that wherever you find yourselves, that you do your utmost best to ensure that the political situation is handled maturely and orderly.
“We have to avoid temptations wherever we find ourselves. Try to avoid temptation from political actors and other people that may try to tempt you at the cost of having a smooth election.
“Our job is a difficult job because we are close to the civil population more than any security agency and I think at various levels, CPs should imbibe it in their officers the need to be available and very professional with the civilian population because they have trust in us and we have to serve the interest of the generality of Nigerians in ensuring that we have a fair and just election.”
On the court order on unsealing Peace Corps headquarters, the Commissioner of Police, Legal, David Igbodo, said: “I want to place it on record that the IG and the management team are law-abiding citizens in respect to order and judgment of court and whenever judgment is given and it is tied to enforcement, we will certainly enforce that.
“We do not breach nor violate the orders of court. It is true that the Federal High Court in Abuja gave a judgment that the police should unseal Peace Corps office in Jabi, but we are on appeal to that case.
“We have transmitted records to the Court of Appeal and there is a motion praying the court to stay execution of that judgment.
“Until the full process of the court is completed, it will not be wise for anybody to begin to harass the Nigeria Police Force for not complying with the order of court.”