SARS Operatives Still On Roads, Defying IGP’s Orders, Nigerians Cry Out
Following public outrage, Nigeria’s Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, had on Sunday banned officials of the Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad (FSARS) and other police tactical squads from carrying out routine patrols and other low-risk duties, but Nigerians say nothing has changed.
Various road users shared their observations and experiences on Twitter between Sunday and Monday, suggesting that the FSARS operatives have yet to comply with the police chief’s instructions.
Some of the conventional low-risk activities prohibited by the police had included stop and search duties, mounting of roadblocks and security checkpoints, as well as traffic checks.
“They are to concentrate and respond only to cases of armed robbery, kidnapping, and other violent crimes when the need arises,” the IGP emphasised.
He added that their activities would be monitored and defaulting officers would be promptly arrested, investigated, and prosecuted.
It, however, appears compliance levels are not absolute as many people have reported seeing operatives of the controversial police unit on the roads since the press statement’s release. Richie Emmanuel (@richieeemmanue2) tweeted on Sunday evening that he was extorted by FSARS personnel in Lagos a few hours after the announcement.
“I left the house [a] few minutes ago for my shoot … SARS stopped me at Kpako bus stop. I told them who I am and showed them my videos and all; they searched my phone and saw I was clean,” he narrated.
“The next thing, they asked me how I got money to buy my phone, which I told them. They went to my message and opened by bank SMS … and said if I don’t send them the money, they will shoot my leg and I can’t dance anymore. I had to send them all the money in my account.”
Reports, some with attached pictures and videos, indicate that officials have since been sighted at various places in Lagos, including Ojota, Alausa, Shomolu, and Isolo.
“SARS operatives mounting roadblock at Girei, Adamawa at the moment. Despite the orders of the IGP yesterday as applauded by the Vice President,” Segun Awosanya, convener of the End SARS campaign, tweeted at past 12 pm on Monday.
“The IGP’s order is yet to make any impact on [the] ground. #EndImpunity,” he added.
It is not the first time the police headquarters would read the riot act to FSARS operatives to little effect. Echoing an earlier announcement, former Inspector-General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, said in September 2018 that the officials were banned from indiscriminately searching citizens.
“You are barred from searching handsets and laptops of innocent citizens, unless the search is directly linked to a case or directed by IGP or any person or persons he so delegated,” he warned.
He added that any officer who detained someone beyond two days risked getting dismissed from service.
The following year, President Muhammadu Buhari directed the IGP, Ministry of Justice, and the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) to work on implementing a report submitted by the Presidential Panel on the Reform of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) within three months.
It is not clear how much progress has been made by the stakeholders in that regard.
Here are some of the tweets reporting recent activities of the officers:
SARS operatives mounting roadblock @ Girei, Adamawa at the moment. Despite the orders of the IGP yesterday as applauded by the VP. #EndSARS #EndImpunity #ReformPoliceNG 🚔@SIAF_NG @PoliceNG_CRU pic.twitter.com/vUMMXEIxRj
— SEGA L’éveilleur®🚨 (@segalink) October 5, 2020
— Richiee Emmanuel (@Richieeemmanue2) October 4, 2020
After the audio ban of #FSARS yersterday this is at Mko ABIOLA GARDEN OJOTA LAGOS NIGERIA 🇳🇬#EndSarsParmanentlyNow pic.twitter.com/H8cM4pnMxX
— Ajebo (@Ajebo_no_butter) October 5, 2020
I thought they put a ban on this #FSARS but I just passed by them around ikeja Alausa with a young guy being arrested. We are tired #EndSARSBrutality #EndSARS #EndSarsParmanentlyNow
— mayoks_michael (@MayoksMichael) October 5, 2020
I thought the IGP of @PoliceNG banned stop and check yesterday by police, #FSARS & #SARs …This is how i started my Monday morning at shomolu…My final offense was I’m using a privately registered vehicle to carry goods cc @aleeygiwa pic.twitter.com/oYBj4lNxq7
— Toba Adeyeye (@OtunbaToba) October 5, 2020
I can confirm that #FSARS are on duty today.
— I. Samaila (@Isamaila_Gdk) October 5, 2020
saw them this morning on Ago Palace way doing their usual patrol
— email@example.com (@amb962) October 5, 2020
They just stopped my vehicle along udi-enugu right now doing normal stop and search.
— ItsIZK (@azikuwe) October 5, 2020
Chat I had with an official who once saved me from his colleagues… The ban was audio, these people don’t rate us or care about our life❗️💔#EndSARS #sarsbrutality #FSARS pic.twitter.com/4ZgEroVRZy
— ÐaRLinTon👑 (@iamdarlinton) October 4, 2020
Just This Morning At Urora Junction, Benin City, EDO STATE. #FSARS Continue To Terrorise Innocent Citizens. @PoliceNG #EndSARS #EndSARSNotBanSARS pic.twitter.com/n8RLDgDzb1
— Somto Okonkwo (@MrSomtoOkonkwo) October 5, 2020
#FSARS these ones are bigger than the @NGPoliceForce and the IG abi this one na this morning oh monday pic.twitter.com/E6448yUpcG
— Justice donald (@Generaljustino) October 5, 2020
We are still talking about sars, this happened this morning in Benin #EndSARS #FSARS pic.twitter.com/jI4zj5nZvH
— nosa (@beninboy_) October 5, 2020
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