SARS Will Be Reformed Not Scrapped – Nigeria Police Insists

The Public Relations Officer of the Nigeria Police Force, Jimoh Moshood has stated that the Special Anti-Robbery Squad, SARS, will not scrapped but reformed despite nationwide protest.

Moshood disclosed this at a youth-police forum on Police Accountability in Lagos by Korede Bello Initiative.

CSP Moshood urged Nigerians to be patient as the police force was investigating complaints and feel their pains.

“We have families and we feel your pain; SARS reform is the way to go and not to end SARS.

“SARS has been doing very well in ensuring that robbery is reduced to the barest minimum in the country. However, concerns and allegations against them as regard the violation of human rights are being investigated on the directive of the Inspector General of Police.

“The reform that he has put in place is to ensure that SARS is streamlined just as the Mobile Police Force under a unified commander at the Force headquarters, who is a commissioner of police”, he said.

Dolapo Badmos, the Zonal police public relations officer for Lagos and Ogun state also present at the event commended the Korede Bello Initiative for the forum, reassuring Nigerians that the reform of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad was currently going on.

”If you have any complaint about any police or SARS officer, report and it will be dealt with appropriately by the Police”, Badmos said.

Nigerian celebrities Ruggedman, Dr Sid, Simi, Sound Sultan, Korede Bello and ace broadcaster, Sulaiman Aledeh were at the forum.

#ENDSARS Horrible Experiences

Victims of SARS share their very bitter experiences, stressing the harzards the arm of the Police force has caused. Nigerians assaulted by the Special Anti-Robbery Squad officers share their stories.

‘SARS men hit me with a gun, passed my pants around’
It was July 15 last year and I was a student at the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Osun State at the time. I was attending a friend’s elder brother’s wedding. We had booked an OAU staff bus from Ile-Ife to the wedding venue in Ilorin, Kwara State.

On the way, we were stopped by four SARS officials on black T-shirts and jeans. Their Hilux van was parked on the other side of the road. Two of them crossed to the side of the road where our driver parked the vehicle. They pointed to the four of us to come down with our bags. We thought it would be the normal ‘stop-and-extort’ but it was beyond that. One of us, Aduke, was very sick. So, she sat beside a gutter by the roadside.

One of the officers threatened to slap her for sitting down. Meanwhile, they were already checking the bags of the guys. They asked for our identity cards and we showed them our OAU ID cards. They collected them and threw them into the back of their vehicle without checking.

They checked my bag and brought out my pants. One of them, a fair-complexioned guy, hooked his index finger into the strap of one of my bras and passed it to his colleagues and jokingly asked about the size I wear.

He also raised the pants and asked why I had G-strings if I wasn’t a prostitute. An officer checked a bag of one of us called Dare and picked his phone. He claimed that some pictures in the phone were incriminating. They didn’t even allow Dare to explain anything to the officer, who was still holding my pants, before they hit him with gun butt. They told our other friends, Aduke and Akin, to leave immediately or they would shoot them as they threw their clothes and bags at them.

About 7pm, they told us to get into the back of the vehicle. Dare refused, saying he didn’t commit any offence. I was scared. They hit us with the butt of their guns and handcuffed Dare’s hand to mine. My offence was that I complained about the way they were passing my pants around.

My friend’s head bled profusely and he looked tired. One of the officers asked me to help him. He removed the cuffs from my hand. I took the gown I intended to wear at the wedding and wrapped it round his head. He cuffed my hand back to Dare’s after I had finished helping him (Dare). They kept driving and it was getting dark. We couldn’t use our phones as they had collected them.

After they drove for some time, Dare slumped against the body of the vehicle. They eventually stopped in front of a deserted First Bank in a small town. They told us to come down. The officer driving stopped and they pulled Dare and me down from the back. I stumbled and fell on Dare. In the process, one of them kicked me with his boot. They asked us to give them money. We couldn’t object because they threatened to kill us. I made a withdrawal of N10,000 from my account and I requested for Dare’s PIN. I withdrew N30,000 from his account and we gave all to them.

They hit Dare as they collected the money from me. Blood flowed from his forehead and back of his head. I cried as he was losing consciousness. We were there for about 20 minutes before a vigilante came to help us. He took us to a native hospital

— Ola Eloquence

‘SARS officer tortured me for allegedly sleeping with his wife’
My story was all over the Internet on October 12 after a video showing how I was battered by a group of young men who accused me of having sexual affair with the wife of a SARS operative, Nagbama Egboigbe, aka Smally, went viral.

I was humiliated by the SARS operative. I was not having an affair with his wife as he alleged. The lady in question, Sarah, is just a friend. I met her at Randeki Gold Hotel, Benin City, Edo State, two months ago and that was where we became friends. It was a platonic affair.

The day Smally met me in her house, she called me to come take her in my car to her mother’s house. I was in her sitting room with her younger brother when Smally barged in. She was in her room and he went straight to her bedroom. Since I didn’t know him before, I approached him to know what happened.

The next thing I saw was that he brought out a gun. When I saw the gun, I was scared and could not talk to him. He left with one of my phones, so I called the line and asked him to return my phone. He told me to come so that he could confirm something from the phone. He told me to meet him at a car wash.

When I got there, I asked him why he left with my phone and he told me that he was married to the lady. I explained to him that I had nothing to do with the woman and demanded the release of the phone. The next thing I saw was a group of boys, who came out of his car and started beating me up. I manage to lure them from an enclosed place where they were beating me to an open area, so that if they wanted to kill me, they would do so in public.

He later took me to Ugbor Police Station where he detained me overnight and handcuffed me. The investigating police officer did not take my statement. He said that Smally was his friend. He refused to let my wife take my car home but impounded it at the station.

When the divisional police officer came the next morning and saw my vehicle, he asked for the owner and they (policemen) told him that I was the one but that I was detained for sleeping with a policeman’s wife. The DPO rebuked them and ordered them to remove me from the cell and bring me to his office to settle the matter. Sarah came and explained everything to the DPO. When Smally came, the DPO warned him never to go near me again because I did not have an issue with him. He later told me to go home — Ese Idehen, Businessman

‘A fellow SARS official killed my police brother’
My elder brother, Felix Yohanna, served with the Nigeria Police Force for 15 years in Lagos before his transfer to Kaduna last year. He was killed by his fellow SARS officers.

He joined Kaduna SARS and he was promoted to the rank of inspector this year. We received a call that my brother went on an operation with his team and the O/C of SARS. We heard that they were attacked by Fulani herdsmen at a village in Birnin Gwari, Kaduna State. The claim was that my brother was shot by Fulani herdsmen.

We later received a call from Kaduna SARS office that my brother went on an operation with his team to recover illegal arms acquired by the herdsmen. A Fulani terrorist was arrested in connection with the attack.

The Fulani terrorist operated in Kaduna, Zamfara, Katsina, Niger and Niger Republic. Last week, I learnt that a Fulani herdsman was arrested with a police gun and he said that it was the police that sold the gun to him. He confessed that the police killed my brother. My brother was killed by his fellow SARS officer because he was against taking a bribe to free the Fulani terrorist. They knew he might expose them. Another thing that proved to me that they killed my brother was that after they reported that he was killed by a herdsman, they brought his mobile smeared with blood.

Angrily, I asked a deputy commissioner of police in the state how they were able to recover his phone yet couldn’t recover his body. It is four months and three weeks after his death but we are yet to see his corpse.

I know the Lord will fight for us. My brother was sincere as a police officer — Ayuk Yohanna

SARS officers beat me mercilessly in my kids’ presence — OparaekochaThey came to my house in the morning, looking for me and I introduced myself. I demanded who they were. One of them just flashed his identity card and informed me he was from SARS. After that, he called two of his colleagues who were apparently waiting outside. Those inside the room had AK47 rifles. My children were all in the house at the time. I did not want them to see people with guns inside the house, so I told the SARS men to move out.

I only told them to do so because I was worried about how my kids would feel if they saw armed men inside their home.

But the SARS operatives refused to move out, instead, they started beating me. They were hitting me with their guns, I was brutalised and they even tore my clothes.

At that point, I started shouting to draw the attention of my neighbours. As this went on, I got in touch with the Chairman, Enugu State chapter of the Nigerian Union of Journalists, Mr. Rex Arum.

The officers also manhandled Arum when he got to my house. Afterwards, they handcuffed me and took me to their office.

Luckily for me, on getting to their office, the person in charge knew me and he was aware of my innocence in the matter the officers came to arrest me for.

He (their boss) told them to release me, adding that he knew I was innocent because he had investigated the case. I was beaten up and wounded for doing nothing.

They don’t do any investigation. In fact, the case that they got involved in was already in court.

People use SARS to settle scores — in most instances, where there is a misunderstanding between two people, all it takes is for one of the parties to know somebody in SARS. They will take sides against the other person — James Oparaekocha, Journalist.

BBC Features #ENDSARS

This year’s most trending issues #ENDSARS campaign which has been branded ‘politically motivated’ by the police who claim criminals are behind the campaign has been featured on BBC.

Read the report below:

An online campaign against police brutality has gone viral in Nigeria. The hashtag #EndSARS started trending over the weekend after a post claiming a young man was shot by the police’s Special Anti-Robbery Squad, known as Sars.

On Saturday, a user with the handle @YabaKid claimed to have seen officers from the Special Anti-Robbery Squad shoot a boy in the head in front of him.

The user had been tweeting with the hashtag #EndSARS for many months but in the past few days thousands of others have responded with their own stories of police brutality. Many claimed to have been held at gunpoint, arrested without charge, forced to pay bribes and even shot by officers from the unit.

Well-known musician Simi claimed she and a group of friends were held at gunpoint by Sars officers for – as she put it – “laughing”. Thousands of Twitter users are now calling for the unit to be disbanded.

In response to the campaign, the inspector general of police said he had ordered a complete re-organisation of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad. He also called for an “instant investigation” into all the allegations and complaints levelled against the unit.

 

Senator Backs Calls For Police SARS Scrapping

Senator Isa Misau, Bauchi-APC, on Tuesday lent his voice to the trending social media outcry against the activities of the Nigeria Police Force’s Special Anti-robbery Squad, SARS.

An hashtag #ENDSARS, calling for the scrapping of the police unit, trended on the social media over the weekend.

Nigerians, who used the social media to recount their experiences with SARS operatives, listed allegations of extra-judicial killings, wanton arrests and dispossession of properties through physical assault and other intimidation tactics.

Presenting the issue as a point of order, Mr. Misau said SARS has grown out of the authority of state police commissioners who are supposed to regulate their activities.

He said, “According to the Police Act and regulations, the force Criminal and Investigation and Intelligence, force CID, is the highest investigating arm of the Nigerian police. And for effective and efficient administration, the department is divided into 14 sections of which the Special Anti-robbery squad, SARS, is one of them.”

“SARS is supposed to be a section in each state command criminal investigation department with sole responsibility of handling armed robbery cases and answerable to the state commissioner of Police.”

Relaying experiences of Nigerians in some of the petitions he received, the former cop hinged on dangers of keeping a unit of the police force which has placed itself above the law.

“Mr. President, I have in the last few months received several petitions from my constituency against SARS. The complaints vary from extra-judicial killings, brutality, torture, arrest for bribe and other menacing conduct by the men of the unit.

“Most of the tweets with the hashtag, EndSARS, reported several cases of harassment, and arbitrary arrest of Nigerian youths labelling them Yahoo Boys.

“Mr. President, the complaints have ranged from how officers waylaid citizens at ATM points to how they often threaten to kill avowing they will get away with it. There are specific cases of how SARS officers allegedly murder citizens for declining to pay bribes.”

Mr. Misau said the Senate must take a bold stand on the issue and end the operation of SARS.

“It is dangerous for us to have a unit of the Police Force act as if it is above the law. We must now take a major decision to end SARS until a unit built around the rule of law and human rights observance is created by the police.”

Mr. Misau condemned the police’s reaction to the series of allegations against SARS.

Following growing outrage against the activities of SARS, the Inspector-General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, on Sunday ordered the immediate reorganisation of the notorious unit.

But the Senator is pessimistic about this move, noting that previous attempts by the police Force to sanitise the unit has proved ineffective.

“I’m aware that in 2015, the then IGP, Solomon Arase, had due to incessant reports of abuses by the squad split SARS into two units with a view to checking its human rights abuses. This was done to ensure that officers don’t make arrest and investigate the same case. However, the abuses have continued.

“The police high command had earlier said that it has no intention to scrap the squad and contrary to claims. Rather than to take note of complains by the general public, and proceed to investigate and take actions against these human rights’ abuses, they only make matters worse by calling these campaigners criminals,” he said.

He prayed that the Senate set up a committee to investigate the allegations of human rights abuse by SARS.

The Senate President, Bukola Saraki, noted that the issue should be given urgent attention as it affects many Nigerians.

“I think it is clear that something wrong is going on and it needs urgent attention,” he said.

The Senate referred the issue to the ad-hoc committee on security already set up.

#EndSARS Campaign Prompting The Reorganization Of SARS, Atiku’s 2019 Presidential Bid And Other Interesting Newspaper Headlines Today

Of Course, the most trending topic on the lips of many Nigerians is #EndSARS which leads the trends on all social media platforms today. And with the campaign giving many countrymen the opportunity to share to the whole world their experience in the hands of the security unit, the police hierarchy had to take the bull by the horn.

Notably in all the Papers, The Punch, Vanguard, Daily Sun, Nigerian Tribune, New Telegraph, The Nation, The Guardian, Daily Independent among others, the story has different captions.

The Punch:

#EndSARS: IG reorganizes SARS, to probe operatives with the story:

Following calls on social media for the scrapping of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad on account of its nefarious activities, the Inspector-General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, has ordered immediate reorganization of the unit.

The Police boss in a statement on Monday by the Force spokesperson, Jimoh Moshood, also ordered the investigation into all allegations and complaints against the operatives of the squad by the IGP X-Squad.

He noted that SARS had been doing well by curbing violent crimes, but expressed concern over calls for its disbandment, noting that the unit would be reorganized and repositioned for efficiency and effective service delivery to all Nigerians.

Moving now to Atiku, its no longer news that the Former Vice President is back in his former party, the Peoples Democratic Party PDP. But there seems to be a twist to his ambition in becoming the nation’s number one citizen as members of the party are not giving face to his quest to run in 2019.

The Independent has the caption, “No Special Consideration For Abubakar Atiku-PDP, with the Guardian saying “PDP Rules Out Special Concession for Atiku, Others”, it leaves to the average political watcher that only time will tell.

Still on the review today, there is this interesting and cheerful news of a six year old boy, Ali Ahmadu captured on all national dailies. His story is heartwarming. The young Ali was about four years ago in a small village at Chibok Local Government Area of Borno State affected by the murderous invasions of the dreaded Boko Haram sect damaging his still forming vertebra column in the process.

After due medical advice, he was sent to Dubai in the United Arab Emirates for a life changing surgery on his spinal cord which cost $63,000. His return to the country yesterday (Monday) sparked wild jubilations from everyone at the airport trying to catch a glimpse of the ever aesthetic young chap. Asked what would like to become, he said “I want to be a policeman.”

Finally, here is the news of Imo State Governor, Owelle Rochas Okorocha appointing his sister, Mrs Ogechi Ololo (nee Okorocha) as the Commissioner for Happiness and Couples’ Fulfillment. The announcement has and is still generating huge reactions from the entire federation.

Breaking: #EndSARS: IG Orders Immediate Reorganization Of SARS

Following growing outrage against the activities of the police special anti-robbery squad, SARS, the Inspector-General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, has ordered the immediate reorganisation of the notorious unit.

A statement from the Force Public Relation’s Officer, Jimoh Moshood, said Mr. Idris also ordered the immediate investigation into the activities of SARS, with the aim of prosecuting cases of human right abuses.

“The Inspector General of Police, IGP Ibrahim K. Idris NPM, mni concerned with public interest and the need to reposition the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) for more efficiency and effective service delivery to all Nigerians and ensure that the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) operates based on International Core Value of Policing with integrity and make sure the rule of law prevails in the operations and activities of the outfit, the IGP has directed the immediate re-organization of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) nationwide and instant investigation into all the allegations, complaints and infractions levelled against the personnel of the Special Anti Robbery Squad across the country by the IGP X-Squad of the Force,” the statement said.
“In the new arrangement, a Commissioner of Police is now the overall head of the Federal Anti-Robbery Squad nationwide under the Department of Operations, Force Headquarters Abuja.

“The Police Zonal Commands, State Commands and Divisions will continue to operate anti-crime units/sections, crime prevention and control squads and teams imperative to prevent and detect crimes and criminalities in their Area of Responsibilities, and other crack squads necessary to sustain law and order and protection of life and properties in their Area of responsibilities (AOR).

“Federal Anti-Robbery Squad (FSARS) will now exist and operate in the State and Zonal Commands under the Commissioner of Police (F-SARS) at the Force Headquarters.”

Other changes were also made which include the following:

“A Federal SARS Commander of a Rank of Chief Superintendent of Police (CSP) and not below Superintendent of Police (SP) will be in charge of FSARS in State and Zonal Commands across the Country. All Commissioners of Police have been directed by the Inspector General of Police to comply with this directive with immediate effect and warn their personnel not to pose as SARS operatives. The IGP X-Squad has been mandated to go round the Commands and Police Formations nationwide to ensure strict compliance and apprehend any erring police officer.

“Furthermore, a new training program to be organized by the Force in collaboration with some Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), Local and International NGOs, and other Human Rights Organizations on core Police Duties, Observant of Human Rights and Handling, Care and Custody of Suspects have been directed by the Inspector General of Police for all Federal SARS personnel nationwide with immediate effect,”

The statement urged aggrieved members of the public to register their complaints through various channels.

“However, aggrieved members of the public who have any complaint in the past or present of violation of their rights by any Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) personnel anywhere in the country are to report through any of the following channels for investigation and further actions

GP X-Squad: 0902 690 0729 – Calls 0903 227 8905 – SMS 0903 562 1377 – what’s app

Email:[email protected]

FORCE PUBLIC COMPLAINT BUREAU

07056792065 Calls/SMS/what’s app

08088450152 Calls/SMS/what’s app Email: [email protected],[email protected] Twitter: @Policing www.facebook.com/ngpolice

PUBLIC COMPLAINT RAPID RESPONSE UNIT (PCRRU)

08057000001 – Calls Only

08057000002 – Calls Only

08057000003 – SMS & whatsapp only

Twitter: @PoliceNG_PCRRU

www.facebook.com/PolicePCRRU

#EndSARS Campaign Trends On Twitter, Nigerians Spit Fire

Using the hashtag, #EndSARS, Nigerians, throughout the weekend, took to Twitter, Facebook, among other social media platforms to compel the National Assembly and President Muhammadu Buhari to scrap Special Anti-Robbery Squad of the Nigerian Police (SARS).

In various tweets and posts, Nigerians gave instances of extra-judicial killings, torture, wanton arrests for bribes, extortion, kidnapping, harassment, disregard for human lives and other menacing conducts by men of the SARS.

From one tweet or post to the other, Nigerians bemoaned that the police unit created to protect the people had instead become a danger to the society, torturing its victims with impunity.

Khalid OOU tweeting @iamdharyor decried “endless slapping like a compulsory human recipe” as characteristic of SARS in its treatment of Nigerians.

In Portharcourt, CalyRay, @Ckrisons101, lamented that the sight of men of SARS comes with fear. “It has become a crime to look good and move around the streets of Portharcourt with an imminent fear of the same police force that is supposed to protect you,” he tweeted.

Another Nigerian, Arthur, with the twitter handle @IPellegri, simply made a direct call on the Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo to scrap SARS. “@ProfOsinbajo help us #EndSARS they are killing our youths… our future is at stake in the hands of those you ask to protect us,” Arthur said.

Similarly, Kelechi Emmanuel, @kelechizoe said he received a barrage of slaps from SARS officials because he had an international number on his contact list when his phone was checked.

“I was given some dirty slaps because the SARS saw an International Number on my contact list…. #EndSars” Kelechi tweeted.

Reacting to the campaign to end SARS, Force Public Relations Officer Jimoh Moshood, in an interview with TheCable on Sunday, said SARS had lived up to its duty of curbing violent crimes and condemned calls for its proscription.

“As we speak, SARS is doing fantastically well across the country in reducing incidents of robbery to the barest minimum… they are doing very, very well,” Moshood said.

“There has not been any specific violation of human rights against any SARS personnel. So anybody that is spreading such a rumour is not doing the nation any good.

“SARS has no excesses and when there is any, we do investigate.

“The call for SARS to be scrapped should be condemned by all well-meaning Nigerians. Anybody calling for their proscription is not doing the nation any good and such people should be suspected as having something to hide.”

Moshood urged Nigerians with complaints against any police officer – “whether SARS or any other personnel” – to channel their complaints through established channels.

“Accessibility (to the police in cases of complaints) is very possible.

“We do not take any infraction or violation of human right of any Nigerian likely. You know that so many police officers have been dismissed and even charged to court.”

“So, Nigerians should not give in to insinuations from people that just come to the social media and start spreading falsehood. Such people spreading such information may likely be armed robbers
themselves.

“There is laid down rules for police procedures and any police officer that go beyond boundary to do something outrageous which is against the law is apprehended.”