The Force Spokesman, Jimoh Moshood, talks about SARS and the complaints against some of its personnel with Punch.
what is the requirement for enlistment in SARS?
Special Anti-Robbery Squad is a specialised unit of the Force that
deals with armed robbery, kidnapping, cattle rustling, car snatching and
the like; any crime involving use of firearms. Like in Numan, Adamawa
State where militia are attacking people, the SARS had been deployed
along with other units of the Force. To be in SARS, first, you must be a
policeman, a general duty officer, and you must have been in the job
for not less than five years. You must also have prerequisite experience
before you can be posted to the squad. The officer would also undergo
operational training as well as training on handling of suspects.
are quite concerned with the complaints against SARS and that is why
the Inspector-General of Police has directed its re-organisation. We
know that most of the complaints and allegations against SARS are not
always true, but the IG has ordered an investigation to ascertain them.
He has also directed that human rights desk be set up in all the state
commands to handle rights abuse by SARS operatives. So, the people who
started the #EndSARS campaign can channel their grievances to the desk
officers for investigation. SARS has been in existence for over 40 years
and it is essential to the force, so we cannot dismantle it.
Why did it take the police this long to re-organise the squad despite several allegations against the personnel?
won’t argue that it took some time for the re-organisation. Since the
IG assumed office, he has been instituting internal reforms in the
operation of the force. He also fashioned out some creed which is like
our Bible or Quran guiding our work. This creed has been drummed into
the operatives and everywhere he goes, he impresses it on the personnel
to respect human rights, shun corruption and indiscipline and to be
civil. To say it took us long to re-organise the squad would not be
correct because when he assumed office, he directed the training of SARS
operatives by some civil organisations and the Red Cross.
we are saying is that, some of the complaints in the social media are
genuine, and some happened five, six years ago and some are bringing
them up now. We know that any organisation that is subject to public
opinion has to grapple with the responsibility of educating the public
constantly. We can’t say because there are one or two infractions, we
should end SARS because if you end SARS, robbers would take over. We
appreciate the patriotism of those demanding an end to SARS, but other
groups are equally saying, reform SARS. So if they have any complaint
against the unit, let them tell us and it would be addressed.
you admitted that some complaints against SARS were genuine, why did
you say those behind #EndSARS campaign are armed robbers?
issued a press release and there was nowhere I mentioned that those
calling for end to SARS are armed robbers. I never said that, but people
can twist any issue. As a well-bred public relations officer, I would
never call anybody armed robber. People should know where the calls are
coming from, so anybody that has complaint against SARS should come
forward. Like I said, some of them are genuine, but people should follow
up on their complaints. We want those behind the campaign against SARS
to have a rethink and join us in supporting SARS for the safety of all
What punishment awaits any SARS operative indicted for professional misconduct?
don’t spare anyone found wanting. If anyone is found wanting, the
appropriate measure would be taken. In this regard, if it is the rank
and file, such officer would be defaulted, or dismissed from the Force
if he was indicted for discreditable conduct. Most of the time, what we
witnessed is the complainant pleading on behalf of an indicted officer
or not showing up in court to give evidence