A retired police officer, Fulani Kwajafa, who championed the formation of the now-disbanded Special Anti Robbery Squad (SARS) has said that he regrets creating it.
He also said that the police formation had derailed from what it was created to do at inception
Mr Kwajafa, in an interview with BBC Hausa Service Thursday programme, said SARS was formed when the then military head of state Muhammadu Buhari ordered the then Inspector-General of Police, Etim Inyang, to come up with a strategy to fight rampant armed-robbery incidents in the country.
Mr Inyang served as IGP between 1983 to 1986. He was preceded in office by Sunday Adewusi while Gambo Jimeta succeeded him.
How SARS was formed
Mr Kwajafa said there was an upsurge in violent criminal activities which prompted then military head of state, Mr Buhari, to direct Mr Inyang and his lieutenants to do anything to stem the tide of armed robbery incidents in the country or lose their job.
“The IGP called me that we should do something to save the country from armed robbery incidents; I accepted the offer and requested for time and materials. I then mobilised personnel for the task,” Mr Kwajafa recounted.
”Four months after the formation of SARS in 1984, the unit flushed out the criminals and there was peace all over following the successful operation,” he said.
The retired police officer said he was disturbed by the stories he heard about how the disbanded SARS operatives violated the rights of Nigerians and even killed some of them.
“The stories I am hearing about the activities of SARS is damaging; I ruled that even among the SARS there are armed robbers,” Mr Kwajafa said.
“This is not the SARS we formed in the 80s, I use to be ashamed that I am the person that created the SARS because of their activities, had it been I knew such things will happen, I could not have created the unit, Mr Kwajafa added.
He said those that knew the activities of initial SARS will say it’s Mr Kwajafa that formed it.
He said the controversial police unit had derailed from its official rules of engagement and responsibilities.
Endless #EndSARS protests
There have been several protests across some cities in the country calling for extensive police reforms, end to police brutality, extortion, intimidation, harassment, among other vices, levelled against the Nigeria Police Force.
The protests have created some casualties. The Amnesty International conservatively put the figure of those who have died so far, at least as, 10.
In their separate reactions to the ongoing protests, the IGP, Mohammed Adamu, has disbanded SARS and replaced it with SWATS while President Muhammadu Buhari has acceded to the Five-Point Demand of the protesters.
Mr Buhari also promised extensive police reforms but yet to spell out the details of how the reforms will go and when.
As of the time of filing this report, the protests were still ongoing.
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