*Issues marching orders on end to brutality
By Ralph Christopher
Extra-judicial killings and other forms of atrocities levelled against the Anti-Robbery Squad of the Nigerian Police are receiving attention at the highest level as President Muhammadu Buhari, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo and the Inspector-General of Police (IGP) Mohammed Adamu met to discuss the concerns raised by cross section of Nigerians.
At the end of the meeting, definite actions were enunciated not just to reform the entire gamut of the police, but in particular, to bring the police special purpose vehicle no longer to act as a killer squad.
President Buhari himself confirmed the development in a tweet that he had given the IGP marching orders to reform the unit of the force that has been largely responsible for the excesses being complained about.
The President said: “I met again with the IGP tonight. Our determination to reform the police should never be in doubt.
“I am being briefed regularly on the reform efforts ongoing to end police brutality and unethical conduct, and ensure that the Police are fully accountable to the people.
“The IG already has my firm instructions to conclusively address the concerns of Nigerians regarding these excesses, and ensure erring personnel are brought to justice.
“I appeal for patience and calm, even as Nigerians freely exercise their right to peacefully make their views known.
“The vast majority of men and women of the Nigeria Police Force are patriotic and committed to protecting the lives and livelihoods of Nigerians, and we will continue to support them to do their job.”
There have been protests across some states in the country over the excesses of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) over allegations of high-handedness and sometimes outright brutality, in some cases leading to extrajudicial killing of Nigerians.
The IGP recently banned the SARS operatives from routine police operations and stopped the searching of telephones and laptops of individuals which has led to some of the reported excesses.
Some celebrities have led massive protests, which in some instances, have ended either in the police tear gassing the protesters or forcefully dispersing them.
The meeting between the President, the Vice President (who himself had condemned the excesses) and the IGP is expected to come up with long-lasting solution to the problem.