The foremost desk in the Nigeria media industry Crime Reporters Association of Nigeria (CRAN) which is presently headed by a veteran Odita Sunday of Guardian Newspaper has added it weight behind the reorganization of the FSARS in Nigeria, in
a press release issued to journalists by the Chairman CRAN Committee for Reform of SARS Christopher Oji.
After a critical appraisal of agitations by Nigerians for and against the dissolution of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), the Crime Reporters Association of Nigeria (CRAN) is advocating that the Squad should revert to its former structure if the Nigeria Police high command is sincere about its reformation.
The Police Affairs and security beat journalists, after studying the pro and anti SARS protests across the country decided to express its view and advice the Inspector-General of Police (IGP) Ibrahim Idris, mni, to as a matter of urgency, prosecute the following:-
- To revert SARS to its former structure where the Deputy- Inspector-General Of Police in charge of the Force Criminal Investigation Department (DIG) would be in charge of the Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad ” FSARS” and a Deputy Commissioner of Police would be in charge at Adeniji Adele office due to the economic importance of Lagos. That has been the practice until recently when the status-quo was distorted by the police high command.
- The Commissioners of Police in state commands should regain full control of their various SARS and be held accountable for actions and inactions of the unit.
3.The FSARS through the DCP in charge of FSARS in the states must liase with the Commissioners of Police when the need arises.
As it is today, FSARS is directly under the police high command in Abuja and takes instructions from the IGP who does not know what is happening in the states. Some of the personnel posted to the units on many occasions don’t take instructions from the commands’ police bosses, which is a dangerous trend for the plain-clothed police outfit.
The state commissioners of police appear as toothless bulldogs as the officer in charge of FSARS in their states may not take instructions from them since they are only answerable to the IGP.
Before now, the state commissioners of Police had their own SARS who take instructions from them and are answerable to them. They were in full control and could discipline any erring official in the unit.
FSARS can work hand-in-glove with their state counterparts and can only be seen occasionally as the need arises.
A situation where the state CP has no control over anti robbery operatives in the state is appauling and dangerous.
If the CPs are given the opportunity to manage their SARS, they would be held accountable by the police high command whenever any abuse of power is reported against the command.
Again, the IGP should return the recruitment of Spy police to the state commissioners of police who are backed by the Police Order Act to recruit SPY police to compliment the work of the understaffed police organisation. It has come to our notice that SPY police are now recruited and controlled from Abuja, contrary to the traditional order.
We are deeply concerned about the worrisome situation of SARS and SPY police and hereby advocate for an urgent reform and reorientation of the officers and not outright ban.