Police vow end to human rights abuses under new SARS

The police on Saturday promised that the new special anti-robbery squad (SARS) would no longer violate human rights.

Police spokesman Moshood Jimoh confirmed in Abuja that the squad would meet the standard demanded by government.

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo recently ordered the re-organisation of SARS following incessant complaints from Nigerians about rights violations by policemen attached to the unit.

“We have fully complied with the directives for the overhaul and reformation of SARS,” Moshood said.

Measures have been taken to curb indiscipline and alleged human rights violations, he added, saying: “SARS as a strike unit of the Force has been making progress in tackling armed robbery, kidnapping, cattle rustling and other violent crimes but the presidential directive is limiting their operation to armed robbery and kidnapping and we have sent a circular round.

“The IGP has equally set up a committee of senior police officers and NGO, CSOs, including the people behind the EndSARS campaign; they are part of the committee and they will be going out to ensure compliance.

“We also have the IGP X-Squad, the IGP’s Monitoring Unit, we have the Police Public Complaints Rapid Response Unit, and the Police Complaint Unit under the Force Public Relation Office – all these arms are part of the committee and they are accessible to members of the public so that those who have complaints can reach out to us.  “We have carried out necessary steps. At the state level, SARS will be commanded by a Chief Superintendent of Police or higher rank and the IGP has equally directed that a medical/psychological evaluation be carried out on these personnel.

“Also, a new branded uniform is being fashioned for SARS personnel and the uniform will have Federal SARS boldly written behind and in front of it. We have the uniform on ground already but more are being produced.

You will no longer see anybody wearing mufti. Some of the uniforms are being distributed and more are being procured for distribution.

“So, in a few days from now, people will see a new branded SARS because we are equally mindful of the criminal elements that would want to cash in on the opportunity of the reform and that is why the Commanders of SARS were directed to go for relevant lectures while their second in command and others will continue to carry out his responsibility.

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