Akin Alabi files motion to proscribe SARS as mob confronts officials at Computer Village, Lagos

Akin Alabi, a member of the house of representatives, has filed a motion to “immediately proscribe” the special anti-robbery squad (SARS) of the Nigeria police force.

Public outrage had recently trailed the police department after some of its officials were alleged to have gunned down a young man, who was commuting around Ugheli town of Delta state, while fleeing with his vehicle.

TMZNaija understands that the motion will be considered at the house plenary on Tuesday.

Alabi, who is the chairman of the house committee on governmental affairs, noted in the proposal that SARS has been in the news “because of ceaseless killings and attacks on innocent citizens”.

The lawmaker said contrary to the duty of the police, which is to secure lives and properties, the “fear of SARS officers has become the new order of the day.”

He said many Nigerian families have suffered “the brunt of the excesses and abuse from the brazen SARS squad”, adding that public outcry against SARS “must no longer be disregarded or met with tepid responses from the government”.

He also noted that repeated instructions of the inspector-general of police to SARS officers against ‘stop and search’ operations “have gone unheeded”.

To confront the challenge, Alabi sought a resolution for the house to urge Mohammed Adamu, the inspector-general of police, to “immediately and compeltely ban” SARS, while its police affairs committee must ensure compliance.

The motion comes on the heels of a renewed social media campaign against the police unit, which is notorious for its excessive use of force, arbitrary arrests and, in some cases, extrajudicial killings.

According to reports, policemen, including SARS officials, have killed 92 Nigerians in one year.

Amid the social media campaign to scrap the police squad, the IGP banned the SARS officials from carrying out ‘stop and search’ operations on roads.

However, concerns remain on its implementation as similar bans have been announced in the past with little or no action to enforce it. 

Meanwhile, video clips surfaced on Twitter on Monday showing an angry mob confronting some SARS operatives at Computer Village, a popular IT accessories market in Lagos.

The videos show traders in the market shooing some armed SARS operatives away from their shops. While the policemen attempted to calm the situation, many others can be heard screaming, “We don’t want SARS”.

Reports said that the operatives attempted to make an arrest despite the IGP’s order.

He said one of the officers later fired gunshot in the air to disperse the traders who attempted to prevent the arrest.

Announcing the restriction on SARS, police spokesman, Frank Mba, had said: “They are to concentrate and respond only to cases of armed robbery, kidnapping, and violent crimes when the need arises.

“The IGP has warned the Tactical Squads against the invasion of the privacy of citizens particularly through any indiscriminate and unauthorized search of mobile phones, laptops, and other smart devices.

“He condemns every act of unprofessionalism, abuse of human rights and high-handedness by some personnel of the Squads,” the force public relations officer said.

“He has therefore ordered the X-Squad and the Monitoring Unit to embark on immediate and massive nationwide monitoring of activities of Tactical Squads and other police officers on the road.

“They are to ensure prompt arrest, investigation, and prosecution of all erring police officers who violate these directives and other extant regulations of the Force.”

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