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The Police Service Commission (PSC) has marked 37 operatives of the special anti-robbery squad (SARS) for dismissal.

 

PSC spokesman Ikechukwu Ani said in a statement that a presidential panel set up on the reform of SARS made the recommendation. He said the panel had investigated allegations of human rights violations and abuse of office against SARS and recommended reform or restructuring of the outfit.

“The Panel also directed the Inspector General of Police to unravel the identity of 22 officers involved in the violation of the human rights of innocent citizens,” Ani said.

The possible dismissal of the 37 members of now-defunct SARS is another response to nationwide agitation for the reform of the Nigeria Police.

Nigerians, mostly youths, for over a week have staged protests against brutality, harassment, extortion and extrajudicial killing by police personnel.

Since the protest, inspector general of police Mohammed Adamu has announced the dissolution of the controversial Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) of the police. The unit is most culpable for cases of misuse of firearms in the country.

Adamu after two days announced a new unit – Special Weapons And Tactics (SWAT) to replace the dreaded SARS unit.

The changes regardless, Nigerians are not relenting in the nationwide protests which continue to garner momentum on a daily basis.

On the dismissal of the 37 police personnel, Anichukwu disclosed that executive secretary of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) Tony Ojukwu presented the report of the panel to PSC chairman Musiliu Smith on Friday.

“We have come to see a PSC determined to play a leading role in the reform of the Nigeria Police Force,” Ani said quoting Ojukwu.

Ojukwu, according to Ani, said police reform is the most topical issue in the country, adding that a lot is expected from the PSC.

He said the panel received 113 complaints on alleged human rights violations from across the country and 22 memoranda on suggestions on how to reform and restructure SARS and the police in general.

Smith said the PSC will collaborate and support the human rights commission in the promotion of good governance.

He, however, said for effective reform, there must be a deliberate effort to select capable, professional and credible people to replace the disbanded outfit.

The selected officers, he added, must be properly trained and exposed to regular training.

Smith said there must also be close supervision of the newly selected officers so that the nation will not experience the rot that became the fate of the disbanded unit.

He also made a case for proper and living accommodation for the police officers, saying they need good accommodation to put in their best.

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