Nigeria dissolves special police unit after protests

Agence France-Presse

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Nigeria dissolves special police unit after protests

A man carries a placard reading "Even The Poor Deserves Free Life" on the road to a government house in continuation of ongoing demonstrations to call for the scrapping of the controversial police unit at Ikeja, on October 9, 2020. - Nigeria's top police chief banned a controversial anti-robbery unit and other special agents from mounting roadblocks and carrying out stop-and-search operations over accusations of abuses. Inspector-General of Police Muhammed Adamu said the Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad (FSARS) and other tactical squads must stop such operations "with immediate effect". Adamu said the decision followed findings that "a few personnel" in undercover tactical squads have abused their position "to perpetrate all forms of illegality". (Photo by PIUS UTOMI EKPEI / AFP)


The announcement comes after growing anger over alleged illegal arrests, extortion, torture, and even murder carried out by members of the unit

Nigeria has dissolved a special police unit after public protests alleging brutality and will launch an investigation into its activities, the presidency announced Sunday, October 11.

The scrapping of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) will take effect immediately, the office said in a tweet.

For its part, the Nigerian Police Force announced in a tweet an investigation into allegations “of crimes committed against citizens,” adding that “the culprits will be punished.”

The investigation into the dissolved unit will include civil society and human rights groups, it added. The police are making new arrangements to deal with the crimes previously investigated by SARS units, it said.

The SARS officers are to be redeployed into other units.

Sunday’s announcement comes after growing anger over the past week expressed on the streets and on social media over alleged illegal arrests, extortion, torture and even murder carried out by members of the unit.

One recent video went viral showing the alleged killing of a man by a police officer in Delta state – footage that authorities denied was real. The arrest of the man who shot the video sparked even more outrage.

On October 4, when SARS was suspended, Nigeria’s vice president denounced police violence when questioned by reporters. 

“I’m 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,” Yemi Osinbajo said. 

The movement initially targeted SARS but has since broadened to include all police forces.

Groups such as Amnesty International had joined the criticism of the SARS units and at one point on Friday #EndSARS was the top trending Twitter hashtag  in Nigeria. –

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