Nigeria’s police chief dissolved a controversial police squad Sunday following protests against police brutality across the West African country, according to a statement.
Protesters had been demonstrating for several days against the country’s controversial Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) police unit and besieged its headquarters.
They chanted “End SARS” and poured red paint on the street in front of the building – a symbolic reference to the alleged killings by SARS officers.
Mohammed Abubakar Adamu said ”the dissolution of SARS is in response to the yearnings of the Nigerian people, observes that by this dissolution, all officers and men of the now defunct Special Anti-robbery Squad are being redeployed with immediate effect.”
He assured ”that a new policing arrangement to address anticipated policing gaps the dissolution of SARS would cause has been evolved and shall be announced in due course.”
He said as part of measures to prevent a re-occurrence of events that gave rise to the dissolution of SARS, a citizens’ and strategic stakeholders’ forum is being formed to regularly interface with police leadership at all levels and advise on police activities as they affect the general public.
Adamu also commended ”all citizens, particularly those who genuinely express their concerns for a better policing orientation in an organized, patriotic and civil manner.”
On Friday, Adamu condemned protesters for attacking police personnel and damaging police operational vehicles, according to a statement.
In a report Tuesday, Amnesty International said that authorities have failed to tackle the impunity enjoyed by SARS, whose brutality and corruption are “becoming increasingly brazen.”