Nigeria’s Inspector General of Police, IGP M.A Adamu, has placed an immediate ban of the personnel of the Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad (FSARS) and other Tactical Squads of the Force including the Special Tactical Squads (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 among others.
In a statement by the by Police boss through the Force Public Relations Officer, DCP Frank Mba, the IGP informed that this decision was taken after investigations by the leadership of the Police institution revealed that there has been evidences of some personnel of the Tactical Squads who hide under the cloak of the Force teams to engage in unlawful acts contrary to the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP), Code of Conduct and Rules of Engagement establishing the squads.
It is pertinent to note that the activities of the men of the Special Tactical Squads of the Nigeria Police Force has raised a lot of mixed feelings and trepidations among many Nigerians who, over the years, have bemoaned the dissipations and undue harassment they are regularly faced with. In 2017, due to public uproar on the excesses of the FSARS, the Nigeria Police through the Inspector General of Police, Idris, ordered an outright ban on the Squad from conducting stop and search raids in the country. But that has not been the case till today.
Nigerians, almost on a daily basis, have continually highlighted the urgent need for a drastic decision to be taken regarding the Tactical Squads due to several cases of unlawful harassments, unjustified arrests and many other atrocities attributed to some officers of the Federal Special Anti-Squad (FSARS).
IGP Adamu, in the statement released, has also cautioned the Tactical Squads against the invasion of privacy of citizens particularly through indiscriminate and unauthorized search of mobile phones, laptops and other smart devices. He said “They are to concentrate and respond only to cases of armed robbery, kidnapping and other violent crimes when the need arises”.
To ensure full compliance to this directive, the IGP, according to the statement has 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.
“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). The statement says Adamu therefore charged them to ensure effective supervision and mentoring of the personnel of the Tactical Squads under their jurisdiction”.
The statement however informed the public of the arrest of two operatives of the FSARS and a civilian accomplice in Lagos State for their acts of professional misconduct which includes extortion and intimidation of innocent citizens. The arrested men are INSPR Sale James, INSPR Monday Uchiola and Okechukwu Ogbonna.