The Acting Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, has ordered the immediate disbandment of the Federal SARS. He announced this in Abuja on Monday at his inaugural conference with Commissioners of Police and other senior officers.
The SARS will now work under the direct supervision of the Commissioners of Police in all the states of the federation, the latest directive says.
The IGP Special Investigation Panel and IGP Special Tactical Squad were both established by the immediate ex-IGP Ibrahim Idris.
Idris had centralised the operations of SARS into Federal SARS.
Calls by Nigerians made the former IGP Idris changed SARS to FSARS, but nothing seemed to have changed.
The demand for an end to SARS dominated Twitter activities by Nigerians, during which citizens used #EndSARS to list allegations of extra-judicial killings, wanton arrests and dispossession of properties through physical assault and other intimidation tactics.
Similarly, Hyacinth Dagala and Umar Shehu, the Deputy Inspector-General and Assistant Inspector-General in charge of Criminal Investigation Department, did not answer PREMIUM TIMES phone calls and text messages seeking their comments Sunday morning.
The social media campaign comes after years of appeal to police authorities to address alleged gross rights abuses by SARS fell through, said Segun Awosanya, a concerned citizen who was amongst the lead coordinators of the initiative.
In September Mr. Awosanya led a team that visited the National Assembly to make the case for an urgent elimination of SARS as a police department because its personnel had become too barbaric and its atrocities too grave for any meaningful repositioning.
“The federal SARS has become overpopulated by people who have no regards for human life or dignity of citizens,” Mr. Awosanya told PREMIUM TIMES by telephone Saturday night. “Their grievous activities have gone for too long and we can no longer hope that the police leadership can effect any change.”
Speaker Yakubu Dogara promised to look into the issues raised by Mr. Awosanya’s team, the campaigner said. A copy of their petition that was presented to Senate President Bukola Saraki had also been acknowledged with a promise of possible solution, he added.
An online petition has also been opened to draw awareness to the situation and canvass government action.
Those who have not personally encountered SARS told tales of how their friends and loved ones had suffered at one point.
PREMIUM TIMES could not independently verify the authenticity of the claims, but some of them are not beyond what police authorities have themselves acknowledged in the past.
The segment of Nigerian population that appears regularly targeted by SARS includes young men who bear laptops on the road. They say SARS men routinely stop them and order them to strip their backpack for clues about their activities.
But notwithstanding what they do and how much evidence they present to ascertain their status as law-abiding citizens, SARS personnel would see them as Internet fraudsters and treat them accordingly.
A lot of boys turn up at CcHUB with tales of how they were harassed for carrying a laptop. Some of the police officers simply classify anyone with a laptop as a Yahoo boy.
— ‘Bosun Tijani (@bosuntijani) December 2, 2017
In Nigeria its now a crime to use good fragrances and dress well. It is punishable by forced ATM withdrawals or getting killed by SARS. #EndSARS now!!! If you cant tweet the hashtag atleast dont scroll past it without retweeting #EndSARS
— Hunta (@LanaAkintola) December 2, 2017
I can’t even count how many times I’ve witnessed SARS officials bullying supposed yahoo boys at ATMS, extorting 200 to 300k from these lads. It’s very rampant in delta state, Warri and Abraka to be precise. You dare not mention “rights” to their hearing. They’ll burst ur lip..
— Emegha Andolini (@MeanAndolini) December 2, 2017
I’m very very happy with the response to the SARS issue today but please this is not a one day move, we must continue this for about two weeks!!
We must take this opportunity now!
Don’t wait till you’re harassed before you can have a say
— Strong headed Nigerian (@Naijirian) December 2, 2017
Some have also accused SARS of summary execution of citizens.
Do you support the scrapping of FSARS by the new IGP?