According to Daily Post Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo on Tuesday declared that President Muhammadu Buhari has ordered the review of the operations, working strategies and total overhaul of the Special Anti Robbery Squad, popularly known as SARS.
Osinbajo made this declaration Tuesday evening while responding to question raised by one of the participants at the Oyo State edition of the Youth Town Hall Meeting held at the Theophilus Ogunlesi Hall, University College Hospital (UCH), Ibadan.
DAILY POST reports that the town Hall meeting was attended by hundreds of youths from Oyo State, Governor Abiola Ajimobi of the state and members of his cabinet, among others.
The VP while confirming that there have been several allegations of uncivilised manner of operations, harassment, intimidation of many innocent Nigerians by SARS operatives, disclosed that the squad would not be totally banned in view of security challenges.
Osinbajo said that the President being a listening person, had ordered the review of their operations in order to meet up with the expectations of Nigerians.
Osinbajo said, “Regards to the question regarding #EndSARS whether we are going to ban them or not, President Buhari has ordered the review of their operations and very soon this will be done.”
He noted that the need to retain SARS was necessary due to the role they had been playing in the protection of lives and property across the country.
Osinbajo said, “We must have a force to protect the lives and property of the people, you know SARS is Special Anti Robbery Squad, though some of them have been engaging in some activities contrary to their mode of operations.”
The police unit known as Special Anti Robbery Squad, SARS has become infamous nationwide, when series of documented complaints in social media from Nigerians erupted on alleging the group to be seriously engaged in extortion, harassment, illegal arrest, torture, excessive use of force, extra-judicial killings.
Also the group later veeered off its constituted mandate to get involved in financial crimes, land disputes, and other civil matters. Notably many youths complained of illegal seizure and search of their phones without a warrant when they were not subject of any investigation or complaint.
Youths with dreadlocks or tattoos are especially targeted or branded as fraudsters or criminals.
Members of the unit are also notorious for not wearing uniforms or name tags but, rather dress casually in faded jeans and T-shirts during operation, a situation that usually leaves trauma and tension on communities and neighborhoods during their operations.