SARS: Why Nigeria police created unit – Ex IGP, Okiro

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The former Inspector-General of Police, Mike Okiro has revealed why the Nigeria Police Force set up the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS).
Nigerians had started the #EndSARS campaign on social media to protest the activities of the police unit which have been accused of extortion, harassment, robbery, intimidation and extra-judicial killings.
Okiro told Daily Trust that the controversy concerning SARS at the moment was caused by what he called ‘policy somersault’.
He said the successive police authorities failed to hold on to the principles of the police unit for years, leaving it to rot away.
The former IG, however, disagreed with calls for SARS to be disbanded but advocated for reforms.
Speaking on a particular die hard armed robber in Lagos, he said, “his modus operandi was to snatch cars and begin a shooting spree in a convoy of gunmen. He was so brazen that he even shot at policemen at checkpoints.
“There was no way to stop him. So, I and the then commissioner, Ademola, came up with the Special Anti-Robbery Squad.
“The idea was that they would be in mufti, and armed, simply for the very important element of surprise. They would take cover, and communicating with walkie-talkies, hit the armed robbers.
“They did that two or three times, and the robbery attacks went down, drastically, and at a point stopped altogether.
“Soon SARS started spreading, from Lagos to other states. And I began to notice that at every roadblock, you will see armed policemen, but in mufti. Now, how do you differentiate between a policeman and an armed robber?”
“SARS needs to be restructured and not scrapped completely. The police is meant to fight crime, they should be allowed to do their jobs in the most effective way.
“If they are deviating from the concept, they should be called back on the right track. Ending SARS is like the police stopping their fight against robbers,” said Okiro.
|Daily Post

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