The Nigeria Police Force has banned the Special Anti-Robbery Squad and other tactical squads from routine patrol as well as stop-and-search.
This came after a public outcry on social media by Nigerians following the killings and extra judicial activities of SARS operatives.
Using the hashtag #ENDSARS, Nigerians called for the scrapping of the police unit.
Reacting to the outcry, the Inspector-General of Police, Adamu Mohammed, in a statement on Sunday banned the unit from engaging in routine patrol at the federal, zonal and command levels.
The statement reads: "The Inspector-General of Police, M.A Adamu, has 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. In addition, no personnel of the Force is authorized to embark on patrols or tactical assignments in mufti. They must always appear in their police uniforms or approved tactical gear. The IGP’s directives come against the backdrop of findings by the leadership of the Force that a few personnel of the Tactical Squads hide under these guise to perpetrate all forms of illegality, contrary to the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP), Code of Conduct and Rules of Engagement establishing the squads.
"Specifically, the IGP has warned the Tactical Squads against the invasion of the privacy of citizens particularly through indiscriminate and unauthorized search of mobile phones, laptops and other smart devices. They are to concentrate and respond only to cases of armed robbery, kidnapping and other violent crimes when the need arises.
"The IGP notes that the FSARS and other Police Tactical Squads remain a critical component of the Force in confronting prevailing and emerging violent crimes in the country. He however condemns every act of unprofessionalism, abuse of human rights and high-handedness by some personnel of the Squads. He has therefore ordered the X-Squad and the Monitoring Unit to embark on immediate and massive nationwide monitoring of activities of Tactical Squads and other police officers on the road. They are to ensure prompt arrest, investigation and prosecution of all erring police officers who violate these directives and other extant regulations of the Force.
"The IGP has equally warned, that henceforth, the Commissioner of Police in charge of FSARS, Commissioners of Police in charge of State Commands and the FCT as well as their supervisory Zonal Assistant Inspectors General of Police, will be held liable for any misconduct within their Area of Responsibility (AOR). He therefore charged them to ensure effective supervision and mentoring of the personnel of the Tactical Squads under their jurisdiction.
"Meanwhile, two operatives of the FSARS and their civilian accomplice operating in Lagos State, INSPR Sale James, INSPR Monday Uchiola and Okechukwu Ogbonna, have been arrested by the Lagos State Police Command, for acts of professional misconduct including extortion and intimidation of innocent citizens. The operational vehicle of the men has also been impounded and disciplinary procedure has already commenced against the defaulters.
"The IGP reaffirms his commitment to bequeathing to Nigerians, a reformed Police Force that is accountable, responsible and ever ready to defend and uphold the rights of the citizens while discharging its duties of keeping the people safe and secure. He enjoins the citizens not to allow the misconduct by a few personnel of the Force to negatively impact on their belief, confidence and trust in the police."