The Police authorities have renamed the anti-robbery squad as the ‘Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad (FSARS),’ with a new commissioner of police appointed to head the unit.
The announcement came barely a few hours after the Acting President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, directed the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Ibrahim Idris, to disband the former SARS unit over allegations by Nigerians of its human rights violations.
The Police Public Relations Officer, Jimoh Moshood, confirmed the new changes in Abuja, saying that “in the new arrangement, a new Commissioner of Police has been appointed as the overall head of the Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad nationwide.”
According to him, the Commissioner of Police, FSARS, is answerable to the Inspector General of Police through the Deputy Inspector General of Police, Department of Operations.
The Police spokesman also stated that the IGP changed the mode of operations of the Unit.
Moshood explained that prior to the overhaul, the FSARS was under the Force Criminal Intelligence and Investigations Department (FCIID), adding that as part of the latest changes, it will now operate under the Department of Operations, Force Headquarters Abuja.
He clarified further: “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”, the PRO added.
Moshood also assured that steps had been taken to monitor the operations of FSARS to ensure that it complies strictly with the Presidential directives which requires that it should be intelligence-driven, amongst other capabilities.
He stated that the IGP also directed all the Commissioners of Police to comply with the directive with immediate effect and warned their personnel not to pose as SARS operatives.
It would be recalled that the Acting President had ordered the IGP to ensure that any unit that emerged from the overhaul of the discredited SARS should be intelligence-driven, restricted to the prevention and detection of armed robbery, kidnapping, apprehension of offenders linked to the stated offences and nothing more.