14 August 2018

Nigeria: #endsars - Osinbajo Orders Immediate Review of SARS Operations

The Acting President, Yemi Osinbajo, has directed the Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, to review the operations of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS).

According to a statement signed by his spokesperson, Laolu Akande, the decision was sequel to complaints and reports on the activities of SARS, a unit in the police.

PREMIUM TIMES had reported several cases of harassment and extortion perpetrated by SARS operatives. Many Nigerians have also called for the disbandment of the unit with a Twitter hashtag #EndSARS.

Apart from calling for the review of SARS operations, Mr Osinbajo also asked the human right council, NHRC, to investigate various allegations of rights abuses by the police unit.

"Following persistent complaints and reports on the activities of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) that border on allegations of human rights violations, Acting President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, has directed the Inspector General of Police (IGP) to, with immediate effect, overhaul the management and activities of SARS and ensure that any Unit that will emerge from the process, will be intelligence-driven and restricted to the prevention and detection of armed robbery and kidnapping, and apprehension of offenders linked to the stated offences, and nothing more," Mr Akande wrote.

"The Acting President has also directed the IGP to ensure that all operatives in the emerging Unit conduct their operations in strict adherence to the rule of law and with due regard to International Human Rights Law and the constitutionally guaranteed rights of suspects. The operatives should also bear proper identification anytime they are on duty.

"In the meantime, the Acting President has directed the National Human Rights Commission to set up a Special Panel that will conduct an investigation of the alleged unlawful activities of SARS in order to afford members of the general public the opportunity to present their grievances with a view to ensuring redress."

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