The Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, has directed that no official of the Federal Special Anti Robbery Squad (FSARS) should, from now, carry arms without wearing the police uniforms.
The IG gave the directive as part of measures to reform the FSARS which had received unfavourable criticisms from the public on its operations lately.
Speaking through a Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP), Adepoju Ilori, head of the Monitoring team of the FSARS in South West Nigeria, the IG said: “On no account should any SARS carry arms when they are not in uniforms. SARS should also limit their functions to investigations of cases of armed robbery and kidnapping.
Any official who flouted this order will be severely dealt with. We seek the cooperation of the public to report to the commissioner of police any SARS that is flouting these rules.”
Speaking further, DCP Adepeju said his team which included an Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP), Ababyomi Shogunle, had gone round the FSARS offices in the South West and screened them, with a view to find out if the suspects in their custody have committed offences that are within the purview of the FSARS, adding that the exercise was part of measures to reform the security outfit.
His statement reads: “In compliance with the directive of the presidency to reform FSARS, the IGP has constituted a committee a to check all facilities of the SARS and screen the suspects and determine whether their offences fall within the operative of FSARS. The IG’s order is that for now the FSARS will be be operating in normal police uniform , this means they won’t carry guns when they won’t wear uniforms.
“This is being done to forestall a situation where some armed robbers would disguise as like police and commit crimes. FSARS officials are now to carry their guns only when wearing police uniforms this is temporary as very soon, their own uniforms will be made available it will all.”
Speaking about the achievements of the ongoing reformation in the police, Shogunle said: “An officer, Charles Omotosho, attached to Ikorodu in Lagos, who was caught extorting people, has been dismissed, while those in connivance with him have been reduced in rank. The police is poised to ensure there is proper reforms in the force and we urge members of the public to cooperate with us in this exercise.”
In a statement in Ado Ekiti on Friday, by the Command’s Police Commissioner, Mr. Bello Ahmed, said waiting for police authorization could lead to the death of innocent Nigerians who fall victims to robbery and other attacks.
The statement, signed by the Police Public Relations Officer of the Command, Caleb Ikechukwu, however directed the doctors to immediately report such incidents to the police after the victim must have been attended to as stated under Section 4 of robbery and firearms special provisions Act of 1984.
It stated stated that: “It shall be an offence punishable under this act for any person to knowingly house, shelter or give quarters to any person who has committed an offence under sections 1(2) of this Act.
“It shall be the duty of any person, hospital or clinic that admits, treats or administers any drug to any person suspected of having bullet wounds to immediately report the matter to the police
“Any person or hospital or clinic which fails to report as stipulated in subsection 2 of this section shall be guilty of an offence,” it stated.
He said anyone guilty of the aforementioned offence shall be liable to five years imprisonment or payment of a ten thousand naira (N10,000.00) fine.
The police boss expressed regret about how those shot by armed robbers while performing their legitimate duties were allowed to die under the pretext that they have not received police clearance.
Ahmed appealed to the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) to urge its members to adhere strictly to the new directive in order to save the lives of the people.
“It is our duty to save the lives of Nigerians and to ensure that faces of criminals and exposed, so the Command, therefore, calls on all hospitals, clinics to strictly adhere to this directive.”
In another development, Ekiti State Police Command has informed doctors operating in Ekiti State not to wait for police clearance before treating gunshot victims.