The Inspector-General of Police , Mohammed Adamu, has ordered Assistant Inspectors-General in charge of zonal commands and state Commissioners of Police to arrest , detain and dismiss from service any cop , who violates the rights of the citizens.
He said the errant operatives should also be charged after being indicted in an orderly room trial.
The IG also directed the officers to compile recent cases of abuse of power and violation of rights of the citizens by the Federal Special Anti- Robbery Squad, Special Tactical Squad, Intelligence Response Team, Anti- Cultism Squad and other teams , and forward same to his office not later than Friday.
The returns are to include the dates and venues of the incident , the special teams involved , details of the incidents and personnel involved , and the actions initiated by the head of the concerned commands as well as the status of the matter .
Adamu gave the directive in a letter dated October 5, 2020 , titled, ‘ Order and directives: Restrictions on the operations of F- SARS , SARS , IRT, STS, state anti- kidnapping units and other special units under any nomenclature that operates in mufti across all formation , zones and state commands ’.
The order with reference cb :4001 /IGP .SEC / ABJ/ V. 115/ 911, stated , “ Any police personnel that , henceforth , abuses his or her powers in a manner that degrades , endangers or threatens the lives and other fundamental rights of the citizens shall be promptly arrested, processed through our internal disciplinary machinery, and if found culpable, shall be dismissed from service .
“ In addition, such personnel could be charged in consonance with their level of criminal liability in the instance. ”
The letter further directed the CP X – Squad, Force Provost Marshall and IGP Monitoring Unit to immediately coordinate and deploy joint teams to enforce the order across all the 36 state commands and the Federal Capital Territory .
“ Any personnel of the special units found violating the order must be arrested and escorted to the Force headquarters for appropriate actions . Weekly update on this operation must be forwarded to the office of the Inspector-General of Police for review and appropriate directives ,” it added.
The police boss noted that the unprofessional activities of some special operatives had continued to drag the Force into acts that “ pit us against the citizens that we were engaged, paid and statutorily obligated to serve and protect . ”
Adamu said some cops had been violating citizens’ rights in utter disregard for consistent warnings , previous orders, their professional training , international protocols, constitutional dictates , force policies, and ethical standards .
He added that no component of laws or international protocols authorised the unlawful killing or degrading treatment of fellow citizens, stressing that no element of professional training or ethical standards permitted any police personnel to deploy lethal weapons either consciously or otherwise , except as provided for in the statutes and in Force Order 237 .
“ Unfortunately , all the recent incidents of abuse of police powers violated these provisions, ” the IG lamented.
The letter reinforced the extant Force Accountability Policy , which holds officer professionally and criminally liable for the consequences of their actions .
It noted that the operational deployment of the special squads was to be limited to specific security breaches , including armed robbery , kidnapping or other violent incidents , and in such instance, they must be expressly authorised by the appropriate police authority .
Meanwhile , the Chairman , Alliance for the Survival of COVID- 19 and Beyond, Mr Femi Falana , SAN, has said the Federal Government and the IG are not sincere with his latest ban of the SARS .
A statement titled: ‘FG not sincere on SARS reform ’, by ASCAB and signed by Falana on Tuesday , said it was not the first time the police high command would issue such orders banning the squad .
He said each time they were banned, the repressive operatives always return to the streets to torment the people .
He lamented that the gross violation of human rights was linked to SARS and that a change of structure without fundamental change of the operatives of the structure would soon make the problem to reoccur.
Falana stated , “ The police high command has banned SARS several times. It has become a ritual .
“ SARS continues to operative under different names or structures . What we see is like removing sour wine and putting it in the same old, rusty bottles.
“ Nothing remarkable has changed in the police command structure that aids all forms of repression and extra- judicial killings.”
He recalled that there was public outcry in 2018 against indiscriminate arrest and detention, extortion and extrajudicial killings as well as other horrendous human rights abuse perpetrated by the SARS operatives.
He said the Federal Government responded by setting up a presidential panel of enquiry to investigate all complaints of human rights abuse .
The lawyer noted that many Nigerians submitted reports and memoranda and gave clear evidence of police abuse, but the recommendations had yet to be implemented.