The Commissioner of Police (CP) in Lagos State, Hakeem Odumosu, says he has complied with the directive of the Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, disbanding the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS).
Odumosu, who addressed a group of lawyers protesting police brutality as part of the raging #EndSARS campaign, said already policemen under SARS had been disarmed and their offices shut down.
He added that the suspects in their custody had been transferred to the State Criminal Investigation Department in Panti for the continuation of investigations.
He assured the protesting lawyers that they would never find any SARS operative in operation again.
The CP said, “As to the directive of the Inspector-General of Police for disbandment (of SARS), if you come here now you will see them (SARS officers) in the regular police uniform. They’ve been disbanded, all their arms have been collected; the cases they were handling and the suspects have been transferred to the State CID, Panti for continuation of investigation.
“All these I have done in compliance with the Inspector-General’s directive. You should understand that in Lagos, we have many police formations; we have, for example, the Special Fraud Unit, traditionally, they are not to carry arms, they are in mufti; equally, we have the Force CID personnel in Alagbon, they are not carrying arms and they are not to be in uniform, all these are specialised arms of the police. But the one that the IG has disbanded now has been disbanded from that day. If you go to their offices now in Surulere, Gbagada, they are under lock and key; we only posted policemen there now to guard the places. They are no more functioning.”
Odumosu, who commended the protesters led by a human rights lawyer, Inibehe Effiong, for their maturity and decorum, added that no single participant in the #EndSARS protest has been killed by the police since the protest started last week.
He said the person who died from a stray bullet at Surulere on Monday, was not a protester but a driver, who came of his car to check the cause of the gridlock on the road.
Odumosu added that police officers seen in a viral video harassing a female protester had been arrested and put in the cell.
Earlier, Effiong said the police ought not to attack protesters because part of their demands was better welfare and service conditions for policemen.
He said, “We are also calling for proper funding for the police. I feel ashamed as a Nigerian, my citizenship is constantly called to question, every time I pass by a police college, police barracks, and police quarters. They are not fit for human habitation. And that is why we get angry when you attack us when we protest peacefully because you are also victims of the failure of the Nigerian state.”