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#EndSARS: We’ve disarmed SARS officers – Police

Valentine Chinyem

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The Commissioner of Police in Lagos State, Hakeem Odumosu, has confirmed that all operatives of the defunct Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) have been disarmed and their offices shut down.

He said this is in accordance with the directives given by the Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, after disbanding the unit.

Odumosu, revealed this while addressing a group of lawyers protesting police brutality and the call it #EndSARS

According to him, all suspects in the custody of SARS have been transferred to the State Criminal Investigation Department in Panti for the continuation of investigations.

The CP assured the protesters, that the unit is now a thing of the past, as they would never be found in any police operation again.

“As to the directive of the Inspector-General of Police for disbandment (of SARS), if you come here now you will see them (SARS officers) in the regular police uniform. They’ve been disbanded, all their arms have been collected; the cases they were handling and the suspects have been transferred to the State CID, Panti for continuation of investigation,” the CP said.

“All these I have done in compliance with the Inspector-General’s directive. You should understand that in Lagos, we have many police formations; we have, for example, the Special Fraud Unit, traditionally, they are not to carry arms, they are in mufti; equally, we have the Force CID personnel in Alagbon, they are not carrying arms and they are not to be in uniform, all these are specialised arms of the police. But the one that the IG has disbanded now has been disbanded from that day. If you go to their offices now in Surulere, Gbagada, they are under lock and key; we only posted policemen there now to guard the places. They are no more functioning.”

While commending the lawyers led by a human rights lawyer, Inibehe Effiong, the CP said, no single participant in the #EndSARS protest has been killed by the police since the protest started last week, adding that the only victim, was hit by a stray bullet at Surulere, was not a protester but a driver, who came of his car to check the cause of the gridlock on the road.

He noted that police officers seen in a viral video harassing a female protester in Surulere, have all been detained.

On his part, Effiong said the police ought to have refrained from the urge to attack protesters, as part of their demands was better welfare and service conditions for policemen.

“We are also calling for proper funding for the police. I feel ashamed as a Nigerian, my citizenship is constantly called to question, every time I pass by a police college, police barracks, and police quarters. They are not fit for human habitation. And that is why we get angry when you attack us when we protest peacefully because you are also victims of the failure of the Nigerian state,” he said.