#EndSARS Protesters Angle to Shut Lagos as FG, Police Make Concession

#EndSARS Protesters Angle to Shut Lagos as FG, Police Make Concession

…Floats a New Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) Team to Replace SARS …Ban is Like Removing Sour Wine and Putting it in Same Old, Rusty Bottles…ASCAB Protesters angling for Police reform and an end to brutality by its officers, have resolved to lock down the commercial capital city of Lagos, even as President Muhammadu Buhari

Floats a New Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) Team to Replace SARS

…Ban is Like Removing Sour Wine and Putting it in Same Old, Rusty Bottles…ASCAB

Protesters angling for Police reform and an end to brutality by its officers, have resolved to lock down the commercial capital city of Lagos, even as President Muhammadu Buhari and the Inspector General of Police, Mr Mohammed Adamu, are dangling carrots aimed at whittling down the wave of protests, spearheaded by youths across the country.

But the Alliance for Survival of COVID-19 and Beyond, ASCAB, led by Lagos Lawyer, Mr. Femi Falana SAN, has accused the Federal Government and the Police hierarchy of insincerity, following the directives by the IGP banning Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad, FSARS from routine patrols and other low-risk duties. It likens it to “removing sour wine and putting it in the same old, rusty bottles,” arguing that the dissolution of SARS which has been done severally in the past, is now sounding like some broken record.


“Lagos will be shut down tomorrow until the Commissioner of Police, Lagos State produces the officers in Surulere that shot and killed that innocent Man.

“Stay home or Join us!

“NPF must produce the officers that shot that innocent man in Surulere.

“Our phones are not guns,” they maintained

The Presidential Panel on Police Reforms has agreed to meet the five demands made by the #EndSARS protesters across the country.

Spokesperson for the President, Mr Femi Adesina, in a statement on Tuesday, said the IGP at a meeting with stakeholders agreed to release all the people arrested unconditionally and halt the use of force against the protesters.

There have been renewed calls for the scrapping of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) of the Nigeria Police force over reports of brutality and extrajudicial killings.

Following the protest, IGP Adamu had disbanded the SARS unit. President Muhammadu Buhari had also issued a directive, calling for a reform of the Police.

Floating of New Unit

The IGP has also set up a new unit to replace the disbanded special anti-robbery squad (SARS).

The formation of the new unit was announced 48 hours after the IGP dissolved SARS following a nationwide outrage. In a statement on Tuesday, Mr Frank Mba, Police spokesman, said the IGP had ordered all personnel of the disbanded SARS to report at force headquarters in Abuja for debriefing.

“The Inspector General of Police, IGP M.A. Adamu, NPM, mni has, today, 13th October, 2020, in accordance with Section 18 (10) of the Police Act 2020, ordered all personnel of the defunct SARS to report at the Force Headquarters, Abuja for debriefing, psychological and medical examination. The officers are expected to undergo this process as a prelude to further training and reorientation before being redeployed into mainstream policing duties,” the statement read.

“The medical examination will be carried out by the newly set-up Police Counselling and Support Unit (PCSU), a Unit, which henceforth shall engage in psychological management, re-orientation and training of officers of the Force deployed for tactical operations and other duties. The Unit, which is domiciled with the Force Medical Department and coordinated by the Force Medical Officer, has its membership drawn from amongst psychiatrists, psychologists, medics, pastors and imams, Public Relations practitioners, Civil Society and other Human Rights groups with relevant qualifications and expertise.

“Meanwhile, the IGP has set up a new Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) Team that will fill the gaps arising from the dissolution of the defunct SARS. Prospective members of this new team will also undergo psychological and medical examination to ascertain their fitness and eligibility for the new assignment. They are to commence training at the different Police tactical training institutions nationwide, next week.

“While personnel from the Police Commands in the South-East and the South-South will be trained at the Counter-Terrorism College, Nonwa-Tai, Rivers State, those from the Police Commands from the North and the South-West will be trained at the Police Mobile Force Training College, Ende, Nasarawa State and the Police Mobile Force Training College, Ila-Orangun, Osun State, respectively,” Mba said.

Unscrupulous Elements Hijack Protest

The Commissioner of Police, Lagos State, Mr Hakeem Odumosu, has also called for calm and professionalism from the protesters and Police personnel respectively as the EndSARS protests is said to have been hijacked by some unscrupulous elements, who are fully armed, in Lagos State, according to a statement by its Public Relations Officer, Mr Olumuyiwa Adejobi.

“Today, being 12th October, 2020, at about 1pm, some armed protesters laid siege on the Anti Kidnapping Unit Office of the command, broke into the cell and liberated two of the kidnap cases suspects, before they were tactically and professionally repelled.

“In the process, Inspr Ekei Joshua with AP No 175493, Inspr Peter Agabi with AP No 251138 and Insp Erinfolami Ayodeji with AP No 229241(now late) attached to the Anti Kidnapping Unit of Lagos State Command, located at Iyun Road, Surulere were shot and critically injured; they have been rushed to the Intensive Care Unit of the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital.

“In addition, the protesters fired and killed one Ikechukwu Ilohamauzo, 55 years, a driver of one Toyota Sienna Bus, with Registration Number LSD 296 FX, who got stuck in the traffic caused by the blockage of the road by the violent protesters, in Surulere today. It is petinent to state that the attacked police inspectors and Mr Ikechukwu Ilohamauzu were hit and injured by pellets reasonably fired from pump actions/locally-made guns. The corpses of the deceased have been deposited in a mortuary for autopsy.

“The Commissioner of Police, Lagos State, CP Hakeem Odumosu, has urged protesters to be peaceful and avoid violent attacks on Police personnel or any other security agents.  Also, he warned them not to harass innocent Lagosians by picketing them to forcefully join the protests; and should avoid blocking access routes or roads for other Nigerians who are as well entitled to their fundamental human rights

“He also appealed to parents and guardians to keep watch on their children and monitor their activities to avoid being mobilised and used for illegal activities in the state.

“However, four suspects have been arrested in connection with the incident. The Commissioner of Police, CP Hakeem Odumosu has ordered the Homicide section of the SCID, Yaba, Lagos to carry out thorough investigation into the incidence for further police actions,” Adejobi said.

Release All Protesters

Lagos State Governor, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has also directed the Police to release all those arrested during the #EndSARS protests.

To that end, the Police had released the following individuals: Nkemakolam Okpara Felicia, female; Nduka Treasure Chiamaka, female; Adefila Olanrewaju, male; Adeola Adebayo, male; Ayodeji Ayeni, male; and Adebola Ojabodu.

Sanwo-Olu, in a statement signed by the Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr Gbenga Omotoso on Tuesday reiterated the need for the youths to reciprocate the Lagos State Government’s gesture by shunning further protests.

He urged them to allow government to take steps to resolve the situation that sparked the protests.

Banning Not the Answer

A former Inspector-General of Police (I-G), Mr Mike Okiro, has however advised against the ban of Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS).

The Inspector-General of Police, Mr Adamu had on October 4, banned the personnel of the FSARS and other tactical squads of the force from routine patrols.

Other tactical squads affected by the ban include the Special Tactical Squad, Intelligence Response Team , Anti-Cultism Squad and other tactical squads operating at the federal, zonal and command levels, were banned from carrying out routine patrols and other conventional low-risk duties notably stop and search duties, checkpoints, mounting of roadblocks, traffic checks among others.

Okiro who gave the advice on Thursday in Abuja, said the squad should be rebranded and refocused for effective service delivery.

“The Police management should go to the drawing board and retrain personnel of the SARS as it will be counter-productive to disband them. You cannot throw away the baby with the bath water, if they have deviated from what they were established for they should be retrained and refocused. Armed robbers will be happy that there is no more SARS in the country but are Nigerians ready for that“.

He said the squad had derailed from the primary purpose of tackling armed robbery that it was established for.

While noting that, “Members of the SARS are doing things that are different from their training,” Okiro called for stiff punishment for any members of the squad who violates the code of conduct to serve as a deterrent to others.

The former Police boss said it was unfortunate that the squad have now delved into cases of debt recovery and other matters aside armed robbery.

He called for adequate funding of the force for training and retraining of its personnel and to acquire modern equipment for effective service delivery.

IG is Insincere

The Alliance for Survival of COVID-19 and Beyond, ASCAB, led by Lagos Lawyer, Mr. Femi Falana SAN, has accused the Federal Government of Nigeria and Nigeria Police Force of insincerity, following the directives by the IGP banning Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad, FSARS from routine patrols and other low-risk duties.

The group in a statement issued on Tuesday and signed by its Chairman, Mr Femi Falana, SAN, said it was not the first time the Police had issued such orders banning the squad, noting that each time, the repressive operatives returned to the streets to torment the people.

In the statement, the group noted that gross violations of human rights were linked to SARS and that a change of structure without fundamental change of the operatives of the structure would soon make the problems recur.

Police Has Banned SARS Severally

“The Police high command has banned SARS several times. It has become a ritual. But SARS continues to operate under different names or structure. What we see is like removing sour wine and putting it in the same old, rusty bottles. Nothing remarkable has changed in the police command structure that aids all forms of repression and extra-judicial killings,” ASCAB said.

The group added that; “Following public outcry in 2018 against indiscriminate arrests and detention, extortion and extrajudicial killings as well as other horrendous human rights abuse perpetrated by operatives of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad, SARS, the Federal Government responded by setting up the Presidential Panel of Inquiry to investigate all complaints of human rights abuse.”

ASCAB noted that many Nigerians submitted reports and memoranda and gave clear evidence of Police abuse but regretted that the recommendations were yet to be implemented in 2020.

The group said some of the recommendations made included the dismissal of 37 officers from the force and the prosecution of 24 others, investigation of 22 officers involved in the violation of human rights of innocent citizens, payment of compensation of various sums in 45 complaints and tender of public apologies in five complaints and compliance with court orders in five matters.

Other recommendations were the setting up of State and local government police and renaming of SARS to Anti-Robbery Section (ARS) which should operate under the intelligence unit of the Police force.

The group lamented that though recommendations were accepted by President Buhari on June 3, 2019, nothing has been done since then.

“The Inspector-General of Police and the Solicitor-General of the Federation/Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Justice were mandated to engage the National Human Rights Commission, NHRC, for a strategy of implementation within three months.

“To declare a ban on SARS again is nothing but policy somersault. It does not show effective leadership neither does it portray the Police authority as consistent,” ASCAB said.

Deploy SARS to Fight Boko Haram

Governor of Borno State, Professor Babagana Umara Zulum has called on the federal government, especially the Inspector General of Police, (IGP) to kindly redeploy disbanded members of the Special Anti Robbery Squad (SARS) to Borno State to compliment effort of the military to fight Boko Haram.

Zulum made the call in Maiduguri Tuesday, when he received Minister of Interior, Mr Rauf Argebesola who led a delegation to the state including his counterparts from the Police Affairs for security parley.

This is coming on the day when thousands of protesters comprising of Civil Society Organizations and youths embarked on peaceful demonstrations in solidarity to SARS activities in the state.

Zulum said in Borno state the SARS had made a remarkable achievements by using their energy and aggression against Boko Haram.

“We are not in support of brutality by any security outfit, but to be sincere, here in Borno State the efforts of SARS operatives in the counter insurgency operations need not to be overemphasized,” Zulum stated.

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