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Group faults IGP on new tactical unit

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A non-governmental organisation, United Global Resolve For Peace (UGRFP), has faulted the Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Mohammed Adamu, for setting up the Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) unit to replace the disbanded Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), describing the decision as hasty.

The group noted that the government ought to have addressed the root cause of brutality and extra-judicial killings by the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) before setting up the new unit.

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In a statement yesterday by its Executive Director, Shalom Olaseni, UGRFP also condemned the use of disproportionate force by the authorities on peaceful protesters, some of which were irrefutably captured in digital proof.

It added that in respecting people’s right to peaceful protest, the government has a duty beyond listening to their complaints to equally keeping protesters safe in the exercise of their rights.

Olaseni said: “UGRFP wishes to note that despite best intentions, the setting up of a new tactical unit christened SWAT was a tad hasty as more efforts should have been channeled into addressing the root causes of police violence while putting in place sufficient safeguards to prevent further abuse.

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“This could have taken the form of dismissing cops with severe disciplinary issues, setting up an internal inquiry to identify others within the system for the prosecution, massive training, and psycho-social evaluations for the police all conducted transparently and thoroughly. Such a focus would have driven public trust and earned the police sufficient time to put its affairs in order so as to help it meet the other demands of the peaceful protesters.

“While it is commendable that the Nigerian government made the decision to disband the Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad (F-SARS) whose notoriety and alleged violations of peoples rights, rape, extortion and outright murder led to calls for its dissolution, government’s failure to undertake other demands such as the immediate identification of killer cops for prosecution and compensation payment made to verifiable victims of fatal police brutality further deepened the people’s distrust for what many considered ‘half-measures’ by the Federal Government.

“UGRFP wishes to appeal for calm from the public, particularly the understandably enraged young population who have suffered casualties in their numbers while demanding a right to live free from police brutality. The grievances of the youths of Nigeria which includes, but is not restricted to police brutality, while justified, must also continue to be demanded peaceably and with regards to the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Nigeria.”

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