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Osinbajo applauds as IGP bars FSARS, others from routine duties

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•Police arrest operatives, civilian accomplice in Lagos

The Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Mohammed Adamu, has barred, with immediate effect, the Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad (FSARS) and other special teams, including the Special Tactical Squad (STS), Intelligence Response Team (IRT) and Anti-Cultism Squad, from patrols and other conventional low-risk duties such as checkpoints.

He also warned personnel against embarking on operations in mufti.

HOWEVER, Vice President Yemi Yemi Osinbajo has backed the move.

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Prodded by reporters yesterday in Abuja, he stated: “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.”

The nation’s number two citizen had held a meeting with the IGP where he said President Muhammadu Buhari and himself had discussed the matter on a number of occasions, expressing his principal’s displeasure at the unsavoury development and disposition for reform.

This is even as the Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) and an activist, Comrade Egwu Alakpodia, called on the relevant authorities to urgently halt the killing of innocent citizens by men and officers of SARS.

The group communicated its feeling via a statement issued by the National Coordinator, Emmanuel Onwubiko, and National Media Affairs Director, Zainab Yusuf, in Abuja.

Alakpodia, on his part, spoke while addressing reporters in Delta State.

Force Public Relations Officer, DCP Frank Mba, in a statement yesterday in Abuja, said the IGP’s orders followed findings that some officers with the tactical squads were perpetrating acts that contravene their extant Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) and Code of Conduct and Rules of Engagement.

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“His words: “Specifically, the IGP has warned the tactical squads against invasion of citizens’ privacy, particularly through indiscriminate and unauthorised search of mobile phones, laptops and other smart devices.

“They are to concentrate and respond only to cases of armed robbery, kidnapping and other violent crimes when the need arises.”

He explained that 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).”

MEANWHILE, two FSARS operatives, Inspectors Sale James and Monday Uchiola, as well as their civilian accomplice, Okechukwu Ogbonna, have been arrested by the Lagos State Police Command for 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,” Mba said.

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