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Why SARS officers are violent – #EndSARS convener


Segun Awosanya PHOTO: TWITTER/SEGA L’éveilleur

The convener of #EndSARS #ReformPoliceNG Movement Segun Awosanya has blamed the unilateral appointment of the inspector-general of police by the president for the culture of brutality that characterised the operations of the Nigerian police’s special anti-robbery squad (SARS).

Awosanya also accused the leadership of the Nigerian police of “disregarding previous presidential directives or paid lip service to them.”

“The culture of violence (characterised by SARS), prevails because the leadership of Nigeria police is single-handedly appointed,” Awosanya said in a statement.

After several months of streets and social media protests against SARS,a police unit which has, over the years, become synonymous with brutality and wanton arrest, the Acting president, Yemi Osinbajo, on Tuesday, ordered its immediate “overhaul”.

“Following persistent complaints and reports on the activities of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) that border on allegations of human rights violations, His Excellency, Professor Yemi Osinbajo SAN, Acting-President, Federal Republic of Nigeria, has directed the Inspector General of Police to, with immediate effect, overhaul the management and activities of SARS,” Osinbajo’s spokesman Laolu Akande said in statement on Tuesday.

Awosanya applauded the Acting president for “taking the needed first step in rebuilding trust”.  He maintained optimism that the order will be fully implemented.

In a chat with Guardian on Tuesday, minutes after Osinbajo’s order, Awosanya said the directives needed to be monitored for proper and full implementation.

“We know the commander’s intent, we know what led to the pronouncement but we don’t want it to just be a political pronouncement.”

“We need to monitor it and ensure that it does what we the people have demanded.”

Reacting to the order, the Nigeria Police Force in a statement on Tuesday announced that Inspector General Ibrahim Idris has ordered all formations to comply with Osinbajo’s directive.

A special squad has been charged with monitoring observance and apprehending erring officers.

Among other reviews, personnel of the reformed squad would abolish stop and search duties except in response to distress calls, robberies or kidnappings.

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