Governors of the 36 states of the federation yesterday declared support for the decision of the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Mohammed Adamu, to ban the operations of the Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad (FSARS) and a range of other tactical squads of the Force.
Chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) and Ekiti State governor, Kayode Fayemi, who disclosed the position of the governors, noted that the governors completely aligned with the directive of the IGP that no personnel of the force is authorised to embark on patrols or tactical assignments in mufti henceforth.
In a statement issued yesterday, the governors said the ban will significantly reduce various infractions of the force that Nigerians have been complaining about and bring to an end the menace of SARS brutality on the people they are meant to protect.
They further explained that the IGP’s directive could not have come at a better time when majority of Nigerians were unhappy with the cohort of police officers who have routinely engaged in unlawful killings and torture, thereby giving the force a bad name.
He said, “It is helpful to recall that SARS has been cautioned in the same manner before only for it to go back to its old ways.
“Our young people should not be criminalised simply on account of how they look or their mode of dressing or the cars they drive, and the type of phone they carry, etc. This is an assault on their fundamental human rights.
“We think this is a timely clinical response by the leadership of the Nigerian Police Force and must specially commend IGP Adamu for his promptness and boldness. However, it is our hope that the announcement this time will promptly be followed by action and that there will be no reversal to the unorthodox enforcement practices being complained against.
“Finally, we call for appropriate sanctions against law enforcement officers that have been lawless and irresponsible in the exercise of their duties against ordinary Nigerians.
Meanwhile, flowing from his ban of FSARS, IGP Adamu has reaffirmed his commitment to the ongoing reforms in the Nigeria Police Force, especially as it concerns the activities of the special anti-robbery squad and other Special Tactical Units of the Force.
Force PRO, Frank Mba, in a statement last night, noted that IGP Adamu made this known during a courtesy call on him by the minister of Youth and Sports, Mr. Sunday Dare, at the Force Headquarters, Abuja.
The IGP, according to the statement, called on the citizens to exercise patience as the reforms in FSARS and other units are still in progress, noting that all other announced measures aimed at checkmating a future occurrence of extra-judicial activities by some FSARS personnel and other units of the force will be followed to the letter.
He reiterated that some of the officers who have been found to be unruly and unprofessional in their dealings with citizens, particularly the youth, have been arrested and are already facing disciplinary actions.
In his remarks, the minister commended the IGP for his prompt response in tackling the issues and called for stronger collaboration and mutual understanding between the Police and the youth.
He also called for regular town hall meetings at various State Commands involving the Police spokespersons, Civil Society Organisations (CSO) and other critical stakeholders to strengthen the synergy among the police and the citizens, especially the youth.
The IGP, while concurring with the minister on the necessity of Town Hall meetings, a practice which he identified as a feature of community policing, reaffirmed the readiness of the Police, under his watch, to work with relevant stakeholders towards enhancing respect for the rights of the citizens and better bonding between the Police and the community at all times.
Meanwhile, in compliance with the ban, commissioner of Police for FSARS, Imohimi Edgal, has disclosed that no personnel of the special anti-robbery squad will be issued firearms unless for guard duties at base, and to respond to violent crimes as they occur.
Edgal who disclosed this in chat with LEADERSHIP stated that the move is in line with directives of the Inspector-General of police on measures to curb the excesses of policemen attached to the FSARS and other tactical units.
According to him, all FSARS teams on routine patrol have been withdrawn in compliance with the IGP’s directive.
He said in order to improve on the efficiency and effectiveness of FSARS and ensure that they uphold the fundamental human rights of the citizens, the police have drawn up a training, capacity workshop which will kick-off this week in Abuja in collaboration with civilian partners and Non-governmental Organisations (NGO’s) aimed at emphasising the tenets of rule of law and fundamental rights of Nigerians.
He further said no FSARS personnel will henceforth attend to violent crimes except he was kitted in his approved jacket.
“Only FSARS operatives have the right to wear a jacket with the inscription ‘FSARS’. All other state Special Anti-Robbery Squads (SARs) which are commanded by state commissioners of police are to wear the inscription SARS without F,” he said.
Edgal called on state commissioners and commanders of tactical units to join hands to ensure the total success of all the directives and reforms regarding FSARS and SARS operations by the IGP, Mohammed Adamu.
PSC Meets Over 10,000 Constables’ Recruitment
In a related development, the Police Service Commission (PSC) is set to meet on the ongoing recruitment of 10,000 constables into the Police Force.
Spokesperson of the PSC, Ikechukwu Ani, said after the Court of Appeal sitting in Abuja on Wednesday September 30, 2020, which returned the constitutional powers of the PSC to appoint persons into the Nigeria Police Force, setting aside an earlier Federal High Court ruling to the contrary, the PSC will soon meet to take a decision on the implications of the judgment and the way forward.
Ani said, “The commission sees the judgment as victory for the rule of law and has always believed in the supremacy of the law. The Commission is happy with the judgment and will continue to work with the Nigeria Police Force for the collective good of the nation.”
However, a new permanent secretary to the commission resumed at the PSC yesterday, promising to not only change the narrative in the Public Service but also run an all-inclusive administration where every staff counts.
Ani stated that the new permanent secretary, Alhaji Abubakar Ismaila, while speaking at the hand-over ceremony, said he will work to change the narrative that the public service is an institution where anything happens, stressing that he will always insist that things are done within the boundaries of the extant laws.
He noted that public servants must be above board, even as he said he was aware of the enormity of the challenges in the commission but promised to do his best to take it to the next level.
Earlier, the director, Department of Police Discipline, Emmanuel Ibe, who held brief in the commission had narrated the state of affairs in the commission and briefed the new permanent secretary/secretary to the commission on the judgment of the Court of Appeal which returned the commission’s constitutional mandate to appoint persons into offices in the Nigeria Police Force.
Ibe pledged the support and cooperation of the staff and prayed for the success of the new permanent secretary/secretary to the commission in his new “but challenging” office.