..As IGP bans FSARS others

By Jon Egie and Thomas Abirhire

Victim of alleged police shooting in Ughelli in the hospital

Minister of State for Labour and Productivity, Mr Festus Keyamo  (SAN) has appealed to youths in Ughelli to remain calm regarding the incident involving a youth of the community and alleged police brutality.

Speaking on an incident that occurred yesterday in Ughelli where police personnel attached to Operation Safe Delta 009 allegedly shot and killed a youth in the town, Keyamo said he had contact with Delta State police commissioner and the Area Commander of Ughelli Area Police Command who cleared the air on the issue.

According to the minister, the said victim of police brutality was alive and responding to treatment at a hospital in Warri.

He said reports on the incident indicated that the youth was not shot by the police but jumped out of a car which he was borne by the police on their way to conveying to the police station after he was apprehended.

The police actually stopped to attend to the youth after he jumped out of the car but with the approach of menacing looking mob that approached to crowd them, they, police made a quick escape from the scene and a Warri route driver helped to take the victim to a hospital in Ughelli before he was transferred to Warri.

Festus Keyamo

He appealed to members of the public, especially youths in Ughelli to remain calm as he was on top the situation.

The Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege has also condemned the activities of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS).

In a statement made available to Spy News, he expressed concern over the incessant cases of extrajudicial killings, harassment, illegal arrest and extortion of defenceless citizens by some officials attached to SARS in different parts of Nigeria.

Specifically, the Deputy President of the Senate cited the alleged shooting of a man by operatives of SARS in his constituency in Ughelli, Delta State over the victim’s alleged refusal to allow the operatives to search his phone as well as another shooting of a youth in the town by men of the ‘Operation Delta Safe’ over the victim’s alleged refusal to allow the operatives to search his phone to buttress his argument on the need for comprehensive reforms and overhaul of security units in the country.

Senator Omo-Agege called on the police authorities to fish out the culprits for prosecution, stressing that this will serve as deterrent to others.

While calling on security personnel to always maintain the rules of engagement, the lawmaker urged youth in the area to exercise utmost restraint while investigation is ongoing.

“Those who are authorised to bear arms and maintain law and order in the country ought to understand that such must be exercised with responsibility especially when human life is sacrosanct.

“I hope those who are quick at pulling the trigger would adopt strategies that would foster mutual understanding between them and those they are tasked to protect, in their bid to save the lives of Nigerians. It would be a depressing twist of fate for them to be listed among those contributing to the list of the dead in this challenging period globally,” he said.

IGP Adamu Mohammed

In quick response to the development, the Inspector General of Police, IGP Mohammed Adamu has ordered the ban of SARS and other police tactical units across the country following reports of unprofessional conduct.

A statement issued by the Force Public Relations Officer, FPPRO, Frank Mba said:

“The Inspector-General of Police, IGP Mohammed Adamu has banned policemen working for the Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad (FSARS) from routine patrols.

“Also affected by the ban are members of 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.

“They have all been banned 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 authorised to embark on patrols or tactical assignments in mufti.

“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 these guise to perpetrate all forms of illegality, contrary to the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP), Code of Conduct and Rules of Engagement establishing the squads.

“The new order was rolled out Sunday as the public disaffection against the SARS reached a crescendo, with the hashtag #EndSARS trending on Twitter and other social media platforms.

“Prominent Nigerians have also condemned the SARS for their brutality.

“In rolling out the new command today, the IGP warned the Tactical Squads against the invasion of the privacy of citizens particularly through indiscriminate and unauthorized 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 noted 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 condemned 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 therefore charged them to ensure effective supervision and mentoring of the personnel of the Tactical Squads under their jurisdiction.”