IGP orders arrest of SARS officers who violate citizens rights

Against the backdrop of skepticism over the order last Sunday of the ban of SARS carrying out routine Police duties, the inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu has further cemented his directives by giving orders to Zonal AIGs and Commissioners of Police of the 36 States and FCT to arrest, detain and dismiss any Police personnel who violates the rights of the citizens.

The IGPs directive was contained in a letter dated October 5, 2020, titled, ‘Order and directives: Restrictions on the operations of F-SARS, SARS, IRT, STS, state anti-kidnapping units and other special units under any nomenclature that operates in mufti across all formation, zones, and state commands.

The order with reference number cb:4001/IGP.SEC/ABJ/V.115/911, said, “Any police personnel that, henceforth, abuses his or her powers in a manner that degrades, endangers or threatens the lives and other fundamental rights of the citizens shall be promptly arrested, processed through our internal disciplinary machinery, and if found culpable, shall be dismissed from service.

The IGP further directed that such errant operatives should be charged after being indicted in an orderly room trial adding that the X Squad, Provost Marshal, and IGP Monitoring team should compile recent cases of abuse of power and violation of rights of the citizens by the Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad, Special Tactical Squad, Intelligence Response Team, Anti-Cultism Squad and other teams, and forward same to his office not later than Friday.

“The returns are to include the dates and venues of the incident, the special teams involved, details of the incidents and personnel involved, and the actions initiated by the head of the concerned commands as well as the status of the matter.

“In addition, such a person could be charged in consonance with their level of criminal liability in the instance.”

 The letter further directed the CP X-Squad, Force Provost Marshall, and IGP Monitoring Unit to immediately coordinate and deploy joint teams to enforce the order across all the 36 state commands and the Federal Capital Territory.

“Any personnel of the special units found violating the order must be arrested and escorted to the Force headquarters for appropriate actions. A weekly update on this operation must be forwarded to the office of the Inspector-General of Police for review and appropriate directives,” it added. Regretting that the ‘unprofessional activities of some special operatives had continued to drag the Force into acts that pit us against the citizens that we were engaged, paid and statutorily obligated to serve and protect, the IGP said some cops had been violating citizens’ rights in utter disregard for consistent warnings, previous orders, their professional training, international protocols, constitutional dictates, force policies, and ethical standards.

He noted that no component of laws or international protocols authorised the unlawful killing or degrading treatment of fellow citizens, stressing that no element of professional training or ethical standards permitted any police personnel to deploy lethal weapons either consciously or otherwise, except as provided for in the statutes and in Force Order 237. “Unfortunately, all the recent incidents of abuse of police powers violated these provisions.

The letter also reiterated the need to ensure adherence to the Force Accountability Policy, which holds officers professionally and criminally liable for the consequences of their actions. IGP Adamu further directed that henceforth, the operational deployment of the special squads is to be limited to specific security breaches, including armed robbery, kidnapping, or other violent incidents, and in such instance, they must be expressly authorised by the appropriate police authority.

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