Special Anti-Robbery Squad, SARS, has been renamed ‘Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad (FSARS),’ with a new commissioner of police appointed to head the unit.
The move is part of the overhaul done by the Inspector-General of Police, IGP, Ibrahim Idris following a presidential order on Tuesday.
The Police Public Relations Officer, Jimoh Moshood announced the changes hours after Acting President Yemi Osinbajo ordered the immediate overhaul of SARS.
Human rights violations
The changes are aimed at addressing ‘repeated allegations of human rights violations’ levelled against SARS personnel by Nigerians.
“In the new arrangement, a new Commissioner of Police has been appointed as the overall head of the Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad nationwide,” Moshood said.
The Commissioner of Police, FSARS, is answerable to the Inspector General of Police through the Deputy Inspector General of Police, Department of Operations.
Mode of operation
The IGP also altered FSARS’ mode of operation.
Prior to the overhaul, the FSARS was under the Force Criminal Intelligence and Investigations Department (FCIID).
As part of the changes it would now operate under the Department of Operations, Force Headquarters Abuja.
Explaining the changes further, Moshood said, “The Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad previously under the Force Criminal Intelligence and Investigations Department (FCIID) is henceforth to operate under the Department of Operations, Force Headquarters Abuja. The Commissioner of Police (FSARS) is answerable to the Inspector General of Police through the Deputy Inspector General of Police, Department of Operations.”
In his directive to the IGP for the overhaul of SARS, the Acting President asked him to ensure that any unit that emerged from the overhaul was intelligence-driven, restricted to the prevention and detection of armed robbery, kidnapping, apprehension of offenders linked to the stated offences and nothing more.
According to Moshood, steps have been taken to monitor the operations of FSARS to ensure that it complies strictly with the Presidential directives.
The Inspector General of Police directed all the Commissioners of Police to comply with the directive with immediate effect and warned their personnel not to pose as SARS operatives.