5th October 2020
Nigeria’s top police chief has banned a controversial anti-robbery unit and other special agents from carrying out stop-and-search operations and mounting roadblocks over accusations of abuses.
Muhammed Adamu, inspector general of police (IGP) said in a statement on Sunday the Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad (FSARS) and other tactical squads must stop such operations, including traffic checks, “with immediate effect”.
He added that police officers must no longer work in plain-clothes but always appear in their uniform or approved tactical gear.
“The IGP’s directives come against the backdrop of findings by the leadership of the Force that a few personnel of the Tactical Squads hide under these guises to perpetrate all forms of illegality,” the statement said.
According to Adamu, two FSARS agents and a civilian accomplice have been arrested in Nigeria’s commercial capital of Lagos “for acts of professional misconduct including extortion and intimidation of innocent citizens”.
Calls have grown in recent months for the police investigation branch to be shut down over accusations of unlawful arrests, torture and even murder of suspects.