As nationwide protests against police brutality in Nigeria continue, the Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, on Tuesday, Oct. 13, announced the new unit that will replace the now-dissolved Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS).
SARS was scrapped last weekend after the country’s youths emptied into the streets demanding the proscription of the notorious police unit known for harassing, extorting, and indiscriminately killing young citizens.
Here are five facts about the newly-formed unit:
1. The unit was named Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT).
2. The unit will tackle violent crimes especially armed robbery and kidnapping.
3. Training for the prospective officers that will make up the unit will commence next week at different Police tactical training institutions nationwide.
4. The officers from the Police Commands in the South-East and the South-South will be trained at the Counter-Terrorism College, Nonwa-Tai, Rivers State. Those from the Police Commands in the North and the South-West will be trained at the Police Mobile Force Training College, Ende, Nasarawa State and the Police Mobile Force Training College, Ila-Orangun, Osun State, respectively.
5. The officers will undergo psychological and medical examination to ascertain their fitness and eligibility for the new assignment.
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The police chief also directed all officers from the disbanded unit, SARS, to report to the Police Headquarters in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital, for debriefing, psychological and medical examination. They are expected to undergo these exercises, plus retraining and reorientation before being redeployed into mainstream policing duties.
Adamu also noted that the Police Force will compensate the families of the victims of SARS brutality.
However, after the announcement of SARS replacement was made, the irate youths rejected it as #EndSWAT began to trend on social media – with some claiming that the move is just a change of uniform, and that those rogue officers would still be drafted into the new unit.
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