• Applauds IG of Police for ban on SARS
The Vice-President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, on Sunday said he is angry about the actions operatives of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) for their continuous harassment, brutality, and killings of young Nigerians nationwide, describing their actions as unacceptable.
The VP said this while addressing State House correspondents at his official residence in Akinola Aguda House, Presidential Villa, Abuja.
His statement is a sequel to the Inspector General of Police, IG Mohammed Adamu’s ban on SARS routine patrol.
While commending the IGP, Osinbajo said it was wrong for policemen to be harassing every young Nigerian seen with a laptop, seize their phones in the name of fighting cybercrime.
He expressed, “I am very concerned and in fact sometimes angry about what I see happening to young men and women who are arrested and, in some cases, maimed or killed by men of the police force, in some cases, those who man tactical units of the police force such as SARS and other units.”
The VP continued, “It is completely objectionable. It is unacceptable. These are individuals who are meant to protect Nigerians. The arrest, maiming, killing of young people, or anyone at all by these individuals is completely wrong. It is unlawful, it is illegal and all those involved ought to be investigated and prosecuted.”
This afternoon, Osinbajo recalled, I had a meeting with the IG of Police. We reviewed several of these issues. The President and I had had discussions on this. He is very concerned about this and he wants to see a reform of this process and I am sure you are probably aware that the IG has issued a statement, looking at all these issues, in particular, warning against the use of these tactical forces such as SARS for the purposes of anything other than anti-bribery as it is supposed to be.
“For example, in the statement, he specifically said that we can’t have a situation where SARS will say they are investigating cybercrime and arresting young men and women who are carrying laptops and their phones,” he clarified.
The VP, who described cybercrime as electronic crime, argued that there was no way that one can investigate that by seizing people’s phones in a taxi.
He adds, “I think it is very obvious that this is a major concern. The few bad eggs within the police force are causing a lot of these.
“Of course, it is all over the place in different states. There is the need of course to take serious action. I think that the IG’s statement today is a good first step. He has said clearly that policemen must wear police uniforms,” he charged the authorities.
According to Osinbajo, you cannot say that because you belong to a tactical unit, you can dress in your casual clothing and be armed, because people can’t even tell the difference between robbers and the police if you are not properly dressed in police uniform. “So, clearly, reform is in the offing.”
He, therefore, urged Nigerians to continue to bring the issue regularly to the attention of the government and the police.
“I think that we all have to work together to ensure that the police and law enforcement agents, do what their duty is and their duty is to protect us, protect our society and livelihoods and homes.
While blaming few “bad eggs” in the police force as responsible, the VP acknowledged some officers. “By the way, many of them are doing their duties excellently well, but there are some of them who are engaged in these activities.
“So, we must see this as something we all must work together to achieve, as individuals, to bring to the attention of the police and government, where there have been violations.”
On the part of the government and the police, he tasked that “to ensure that every one of those allegations is properly investigated, those found responsible are prosecuted and publicised so that people know that prosecution has taken place and this is the consequence.
“I am very confident that we will have a reformed police force and that process has already begun.”Follow us on social media