Osibanjo Hails IGP For Banning SARS, Says He’s Been Unhappy Hearing How They Harass, Intimidate Nigerians
Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo has hailed the Inspector-Generalof Police, Mohammed Adamu for banning the Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad and other Tactical units from routine patrol across the country, while expressing his anger over their inhumane activities towards Nigerians.
Osibanjo explained that he was not happy the way SARS operatives go about, harassing, intimidating and sometimes maiming and killing Nigerians in all states of the Federation.
The Vice-President who spoke to State House correspondents on Sunday at his residence in Abuja condemned condemned the incessant attacks of young Nigerians by some members of SARS noting that it was completely unacceptable.
He said, “I am very concerned, in fact, very angry about what I see, happening to young men and women who are arrested, in some cases maimed or killed by men of the police force.
“It is completely objectionable. It is unacceptable. These are individuals who are meant to protect Nigerians. The arrest, maiming, killing of young people, or anyone at all by these individuals is completely wrong. It is unlawful, it is illegal and all those involved ought to be investigated and prosecuted.
“This afternoon, I had a meeting with the IG of Police, we reviewed several of these issues. The President and I had had discussions on this. He is very concerned about this and he wants to see a reform of this process.
“I am sure you are probably aware that the IG has issued a statement, looking at all these issues, in particular, warning against the use of these tactical forces such as SARS for the purposes of anything other than anti-bribery as it is supposed to be.
“For example, and I think in his statement, he specifically said that you cannot have a situation where SARS says, they are investigating Cybercrime by arresting young men and women carrying their laptops and phones. Cybercrime is an electronic crime. I don’t see how you can investigate that by seizing people’s phones in a taxi or in their cars.
“It is very obvious that this is a major concern, a few bad eggs in the police force are causing all of these problems because it is all over the place, in different states. There is a need to take serious action.
“The IG’s statement today, is a good first step. He has said clearly that police men must wear police uniforms. You cannot say that because you belong to a tactical unit, you can dress in your casual clothing and be armed because people can’t even tell the difference between robbers and the police, if you are not properly dressed in police uniform. So, clearly, a reform is in the offing.
“So, I will like to encourage civil society activists, young men and women, who bring this regularly, by the way, to the attention of government and the police.
“And I think that activism is important because they have been able to bring a lot of these issues to the attention of the police and government, and that is an important part of the process of the reform.
“I think that we all have to work together to ensure that the police and law enforcement agents, do what their duty is and their duty is to protect us, protect our society and livelihoods and homes.
“By the way, many of them are doing their duties excellently well, but there are some of them who are engaged in these activities. So, we must see this as something we all must work together to achieve, as individuals, to bring to the attention of the police and government, where there have been violations.
“And on the part of government and the police: to ensure that every one of those allegations is properly investigated and those found responsible are prosecuted and publicized so that people know that prosecution has taken place and this is the consequence. I am very confident that we will have a reformed police force and that process has already begun.’’