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Coalition gives 21-day ultimatum for scrapping of SARS

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Chizoba Ogbeche

Abuja

Worried by the campaign against of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), the Police High Command has promised to investigate complaints against SARS operatives, just as #EndSARS coalition has issued a 21-day ultimatum for the scrapping of the squad.

The Force also said any officer indicted for human rights abuses and professional misconduct would be sanctioned and eased out.

Deputy Inspector General of Police on charge of Operations, DIG Joshak Habila, stated this, yesterday, while addressing pro-SARS supporters led by Deputy National Chairman, Police Community Relations Committee (PCRC), Sanusi Ajiya, who marched to the Force Headquarters, Abuja, from the Eagle Square in support of the squad.

He explained that the complaints against SARS on the social media were being compiled by the Force Public Relations Officer, Jimoh Moshood for further investigation and action.

Habila assured the protesters that all the allegations against the SARS operatives would be probed and necessary action taken against errant operatives.

The DIG said, “All allegations against SARS will be investigated, they are being put together by the Force Public Relations Officer. The reason we are doing this is because we believe SARS has something to offer, but anyone found wanting will be taken out of the force.

“The PCRC has been telling us some of the wrongs we did and today they are saying they won’t want SARS to be thrown away. The IG is s rebranding SARS. Those that have violated peoples’ rights or kill won’t go unpunished,” he assured.

Speaking earlier, Ajiya stated that the SARS has done well in the areas of tackling armed robbery, kidnapping, car snatching and other violent crimes, insisting that the unit should rather be reformed and strengthened to perform better.

He noted that the misdeeds of a few bad eggs in the unit was not enough reason to dismantle the squad, adding that the Inspector-General of Police, Ibrahim Idris should be supported to reposition the unit as he promised.

Meanwhile, the #EndSARS coalition which staged a protest at the Unity Fountain, Abuja, also demanded the investigation of various allegations against SARS operatives and prosecution of indicted personnel by the government.

The coalition of civil society groups issued a 21-day ultimatum for the scrapping of the SARS, stating that:”failing which we will be compelled to resort to other measures to embarrass them (government) into taking action.”

Convener of the protest, Segun Awosanya equally asked Police Service Commission (PSC) to set up a panel to reform the Nigeria Police Force, adding that the agenda must include provisions for training of police officers, better equipment and firearms including welfare-housing, insurance, prompt payment of salaries and pension.

He also demanded a public hearing at the Senate to enable Nigerians table their grievances through submission of memoranda on reforms of the police.

Awosanya said, “We demand thorough investigations into complaints filed against SARS officers. We demand that such officers be identified and immediately brought to justice. In some cases, we will provide video and pictorial evidence against officers who have been seen to be involved in such acts of brutality and extortion.

“We give the authorities 21 days within which to meet these demands failing which we will be compelled to resort to other measures to embarrass them into taking action,” he added.


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