By Tunde Johnson, Abuja
The Nigeria Police have assured that all complaints and allegations against the operatives of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad would be investigated while indicted officers would be punished.
Joshak Habila, Deputy Inspector-General of Police (Operations) said this while addressing protesters led by Sanusi Ajiya, Deputy National Chairman, Police Community Relations Committee, who marched to the Force headquarters, Abuja from the Eagle Square in support of the SARS on Monday.
He explained that the complaints against SARS on the social media were being compiled by, Jimoh Moshood, Force Public Relations Officer for further investigation and action.
The DIG also said any officer indicted for human rights abuses and professional misconduct would be sanctioned and eased out of the police.
Habila assured the protesters that all the allegations against the SARS operatives would be probed and necessary action taken against errant operatives.
He said: “All allegations against SARS will be investigated, they are being put together by the Force Public Relations Officer. The reason we are doing this is because we believe SARS has something to offer, but anyone found wanting will be taken out of the force.
“The Police Community Relations Committee has been telling us some of the wrongs we did and today they are saying they won’t want SARS to be thrown away. The IG is s rebranding SARS. Those that have violated peoples rights or kill won’t go unpunished,” he assured.
Speaking earlier, Ajiya stated that the SARS has done well in the areas of tackling armed robbery, kidnapping, car snatching and other violent crimes, insisting that the unit should rather be reformed and strengthened to perform better.
He noted that the misdeeds of a few bad eggs in the unit was not enough reason to dismantle the squad, adding that the Inspector-General of Police, Ibrahim Idris should be supported to reposition the unit as he promised.
Meanwhile, a coalition of civil society groups has issued a 21-day ultimatum for the scrapping of the SARS, “failing which we will be compelled to resort to other measures to embarrass them (government) into taking action.”
The #EndSARS coalition which staged a protest at the Unity Fountain, Abuja, also demanded the investigation of various allegations against operatives of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad and prosecution of indicted personnel by the government.
Convener of the protest, Segun Awosanya equally asked Police Service Commission to set up a panel to reform the Nigeria Police Force, adding that the agenda must include provisions for training of police officers, better equipment and firearms including welfare-housing, insurance, prompt payment of salaries and pension.
He also demanded a public hearing at the Senate to enable Nigerians table their grievances through submission of memoranda on reforms of the police.
Awosanya said, “We demand thorough investigations into complaints filed against SARS officers. We demand that such officers be identified and immediately brought to justice. In some cases, we will provide video and pictorial evidence against officers who have been seen to be involved in such acts of brutality and extortion.”
“We give the authorities 21 days within which to meet these demands failing which we will be compelled to resort to other measures to embarrass them into taking action,” he added.