Nigeria’s inspector-general of police, Mohammed Adamu, has banned operatives of the Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad (FSARS), the Special Tactical Squad (STS) and Intelligence Response Team (IRT) from undertaking routine patrols as well as stop and search duties.
Frank Mba, police spokesman, disclosed the directive of the IGP in a statement on Sunday. The directive is coming in the wake of an outrage over alleged criminal and extra-judicial actions of FSARS officers against citizens in various parts of the country.
In the statement, Mba said the IGP also directed that no officer should embark on a patrol in mufti.
“The inspector-general of police, IGP M.A Adamu, NPM, mni has banned the personnel of the Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad (FSARS) and other Tactical Squads of the Force including the Special Tactical Squad (STS), Intelligence Response Team (IRT), Anti-Cultism Squad and other Tactical Squads operating at the Federal, Zonal and Command levels, from carrying out routine patrols and other conventional low-risk duties – stop and search duties, checkpoints, mounting of roadblocks, traffic checks, etc – with immediate effect,” he said.
“The IGP has warned the Tactical Squads against the invasion of the privacy of citizens particularly through indiscriminate and unauthorized search of mobile phones, laptops and other smart devices.
“They are to concentrate and respond only to cases of armed robbery, kidnapping and other violent crimes when the need arises.”
Mba quoted Adamu as saying FSARS and other police tactical squads remain “a critical component of the Force in confronting prevailing and emerging violent crimes in the country”.
“He however condemns every act of unprofessionalism, abuse of human rights and high-handedness by some personnel of the Squads,” the force public relations officer said.
“He has therefore ordered the X-Squad and the Monitoring Unit to embark on immediate and massive nationwide monitoring of activities of Tactical Squads and other police officers on the road.
“They are to ensure prompt arrest, investigation and prosecution of all erring police officers who violate these directives and other extant regulations of the Force.
“The IGP has equally warned that henceforth, the Commissioner of Police in charge of FSARS, Commissioners of Police in charge of State Commands and the FCT as well as their supervisory Zonal Assistant Inspectors General of Police, will be held liable for any misconduct within their Area of Responsibility (AOR).”
The police spokesman said two FSARS officers and one civilian accomplice have been arrested in Lagos for professional misconduct.