The IG also directed that no officer should embark on patrols or tactical assignments in mufti or search Nigerians’ mobile phones and laptops.
Mohammed Adamu, the Inspector-General of Police has banned the Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad (FSARS) from routines patrols and other duties such as stop and search, mounting of road blocks and traffic checks with immediate effect.
Other tactical squad of the force banned from routine duties include the Special Tactical Squad (STS), Intelligence Response Team (IRT), Anti-Cultism Squad.
The police announced the ban in a statement signed by the force Public Relations Officer, Frank Mba on Saturday, October 4, 2020, after Nigerians called on the government to scrap the FSARS after an officer of the unit reportedly killed a young man in Delta State on Saturday.
According to Mba, “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 IGP also directed that ‘no personnel of the Force is authorized to embark on patrols or tactical assignments in mufti. They must always appear in their police uniforms or approved tactical gear’.
Adamu also warned officers against invasion of the privacy of citizens and unauthorised search of mobile phones, laptops and other smart devices, adding that they are to concentrate and respond only to cases of armed robbery, kidnapping when the need arises.
The statement reads in part, “The IGP notes 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 condemns 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.
Meanwhile, two operatives of the FSARS and their civilian accomplice operating in Lagos State, INSPR Sale James, INSPR Monday Uchiola and Okechukwu Ogbonna, have been arrested by the Lagos State Police Command, for acts of professional misconduct including extortion and intimidation of innocent citizens. The operational vehicle of the men has also been impounded and disciplinary procedure has already commenced against the defaulters”.
The IGP further reaffirms to bequeath a reformed Police Force that is accountable and responsible to Nigerians.
He enjoins the citizens not to allow the misconduct by a few personnel of the Force to negatively impact on their belief, confidence and trust in the Police.