Story from Kenneth AFOR, Lagos
Following the unprofessional and disgraceful conduct on some citizens by personnel of the Nigeria Police Force drafted into the Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad (FSARS) and Special Tactical Squads (STS), the Inspector General of Police, (IGP) Mohammed Abubakar Adamu has on Sunday banned personnel of the FSARS and other tactical operating units in the Federal, Zonal and government levels from carrying out routine patrols and other conventional low-risk duties.
The IGP gave the order via a press release through the Force Public Relations Officer, Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP), Frank Mba.
This means that personnel of the affected operating units are prohibited from stop and search duties, checkpoints, mounting of roadblocks, traffic checks, and other duties outside the purview of the force.
This move by the IGP is coming after videos and images circulated the social media where some citizens were being disgracefully manhandled by some officers of the Nigeria Police in Lagos State.
“The Inspector-General of Police, IGP M.A Adamu, NPM, mni has banned the personnel of the Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad (FSARS) and other Tactical Squads of the Force including the Special Tactical Squad (STS), Intelligence Response Team (IRT), Anti-Cultism Squad and other Tactical Squads operating at the Federal, Zonal and Command levels, from carrying out routine patrols and other conventional low-risk duties, stop and search duties, checkpoints, mounting of roadblocks, traffic checks, etc with immediate effect.
“In addition, no personnel of the Force is authorized to embark on patrols or tactical assignments in mufti,” he said.
The IGP in his statement has warned that officers in the operation of any must appear in the Force’s uniforms adding that ransacking of citizens’ mobile phones and laptops should stop thereby ordering to concentrate mainly on robbery and kidnapping cases.
“They must always appear in their police uniforms or approved tactical gear. The IGP’s directives come against the backdrop of findings by the leadership of the Force that a few personnel of the Tactical Squads hide under this guise to perpetrate all forms of illegality, a search of mobile phones, laptops and other smart devices. They are to concentrate and respond only to cases of armed robbery, kidnapping and other violent crimes when the need arises,” the IGP added.
Although, he noted that while the ban has been effected, the respective units remain a key component that could be used in combating crimes and other social vices when they arise.
“The IGP notes that the FSARS and other Police Tactical Squads remain a critical component of the Force in confronting prevailing and emerging violent crimes in the country. He, however, condemns every act of unprofessionalism, abuse of human rights and high-handedness by some personnel of the Squads.
“He has therefore ordered the X-Squad and the Monitoring Unit to embark on immediate and massive nationwide monitoring of activities of Tactical Squads and other police officers on the road.
“They are to ensure prompt arrest, investigation and prosecution of all erring police officers who violate these directives and other extant regulations of the Force.
“The IGP has equally warned, that henceforth, the Commissioner of Police in charge of FSARS, Commissioners of Police in charge of State Commands and the FCT as well as their supervisory Zonal Assistant Inspectors General of Police, will be held liable for any misconduct within their Area of Responsibility (AOR), he stated.
While these might have generated a lot of controversies thereby causing grievances among citizens, the IGP has reiterated that the police is currently working on various ways in reforming the security agency.
“The IGP reaffirms his commitment to bequeathing to Nigerians, a reformed Police Force that is accountable, responsible and ever ready to defend and uphold the rights of the citizens while discharging its duties of keeping the people safe and secure. He enjoins the citizens not to allow the misconduct by a few personnel of the Force to negatively impact on their belief, confidence and trust in the Police,” he said.