The Nigeria Police has announced more measures aimed at overhauling the Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squads, FSARS.
According to a statement by Ag. DCP Jimoh Moshood, Force Public Relations Officer, as part of the “massive overhaul of SARS Unit,” the Inspector General of Police, IGP, Ibrahim K. Idris, has ordered that SARS operatives must henceforth wear Police uniforms with full identification pending the launch of new FSARS uniform.
Also, the IGP has set-up a Custody Records Management System for FSARS throughout the country.
FSARS operatives are also to go through rigorous medical/psychological screening and human rights protection orientation programmes and processes.
The IGP, represented by DIG Habila Joshak, Deputy Inspector General of Police, Operations Department, along with Commissioner of Police Federal SARS, CP Haliru Gwandu addressed critical stakeholders, the Media and the public on the progress being made in the overhaul of Special Anti-Robbery Squad, now known as FSARS in the new arrangement.
The critical stakeholders in attendance at the briefing were: Mr Segun Awosanya (Segalink), Convener of #EndSARS and head of Universal Institutional Reform Advocacy Foundation; Dr Femi Amosun; Professor Olu Ogunsakin represented by Mr Ayo Omotade; Mr Asekome Oteiku, Director Legal/Admin, International Human Rights Protection and Ayo Akani and Team from Lincoln Carter Foundation.
Other key stakeholders and senior Police officers including DCP Amaechi Elumelu in charge of the IGP’s X-Squad were also present.
DIG Joshak Habila emphasized that the overhaul of SARS was beyond rhetoric and that real reform was taking place. He noted among other things that Federal SARS operatives had been ordered not to attend to civil or commercial matters again, but to restrict themselves strictly to only armed robbery and kidnapping cases.
CP FSARS, CP Gwandu, in his remarks, informed the gathering of the creation of a Human Rights Desk in every state of the Federation to take and address cases of infractions against members of the public by FSARS personnel anywhere in the country in collaboration with other Human Rights organisations.
He went further to note that the Police has engaged the services of psychologists and counsellors in the ongoing screening of FSARS operatives.
DCP Elumelu, who heads the IGP’s X-Squad, a unit with the mandate of enforcing discipline in the Nigeria Police Force, stated that the screening and mobilization of FSARS Operatives would not be business as usual again, pointing out that anyone who would become an operative would go through rigorous orientation, Human Rights training and other screening processes that will include the evaluation of their previous records on Human Rights.
The DCP further announced the setting up of the Custody Records Management System which will be unveiled by the Inspector General of Police very soon. He explained that this system would contain the records of arrests, detentions and welfare details of suspects, noting that this system would discourage arbitrary arrest of people, and ensure that suspects are charged to court within 24 hours according to the law.
In his address at the event, Mr. Awosanya, popularly known as @Segalink on Twitter who spearheaded the #ENDSARS Campaign appreciated President Muhammadu Buhari for the swift action in ordering the overhaul of SARS, noting that the government was a listening one. He called for trust between citizens and the police noting that “if it is well with the Police, it is well with the nation.”
The social media activist said that he would be giving all it takes to support the Police Force and called off the #ENDSARS and the reformation of SARS in the new FSARS arrangement.