Nigeria disbands federal special force unit amid mass protests against police brutality

Nigerian government said that a special presidential order had instructed immediate dissolution of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS).


Nigeria on Sunday, October 11 disbanded the federal central police force following mass protests against police brutality. According to BBC reports, the Nigerian government said that a special presidential order had instructed immediate dissolution of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS). Widespread protests against police were reportedly triggered by a video that shows a man allegedly being killed by a police squad. 

PRESIDENTIAL DIRECTIVE: The Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) of the Nigeria Police Force @PoliceNG has been dissolved WITH IMMEDIATE EFFECT.

The Inspector General of Police will communicate further developments in this regard.

— Presidency Nigeria (@NGRPresident) October 11, 2020

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In-depth probe into the matter

As per reports, the massive protests have spread outside the country despite police crackdown. The new directive issued by the president noted that the SARS squad has been condemned for unlawful arrests, torture and murder and stated that work to replace the squad with a new one is in progress.

All officers and men of the now defunct Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) are to be redeployed with immediate effect.

A new policing arrangement to address anticipated policing gaps the dissolution of SARS will cause is being worked on and will be announced by @PoliceNG.

— Presidency Nigeria (@NGRPresident) October 11, 2020

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On the other hand, Nigeria's chief of police reportedly said that a team of investigators will be formed which includes civil society organizations and human rights bodies for an in-depth probe into the matter. 

President Muhammadu Buhari had earlier raised concerns over police brutality and promised to introduce reforms. As per reports, the protesters demanded to scrap out the entire squad while pointing out that previous commitments to change police behavior had no effect. 

According to reports, the Special Anti Robbery Squad has been accused of widespread rights abuses for years. In addition to this, the activists also complained about abuses carried out during the protests include beatings, intimidation, and the disproportionate use of force against demonstrators. 

Widespread protests over the matter have also been reported from the UK and Canada, with #EndSARS trending in Nigeria. Several Nigerian celebrities including, Wizkid and Davido and British-Nigerian Star Wars actor John Boyega have backed the movement.




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