The Force Public Relations Officer, of the Nigerian Police Force, DCP Frank Mba, has reacted to the calls by various protesters to ban operatives of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS).
DCP Mba in an interview on Friday on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily said that some of the protesters calling for the dissolving of the squad are genuine while some others are desperate for public validation.
“I have seen some of the people calling for the #EndSARS who are just pseudo activists and desperate for public validation,” the force spokesman claimed.
“People who are looking to be seen as social media influencers, these are the people that post fake news”.
He noted that others are legitimately concerned about the professional misconduct being exhibited from operatives of the tactical squads and “have a genuine case.”
According to him, “These set of Nigerians are angered by those infractions on the rights of Nigerians and they are demanding for total change and overhaul, they want the police leadership to do the right thing, we understand that and we are in line with them.”
He also disclosed that there are some other people aiding and calling for the overhaul of SARS but are “beneficiaries of criminal enterprise, some of them are receiving stolen good, illicit arms smuggling and movement, importation of drugs”.
The police spokesman challenged critics faulting the recent move to reform SARS.
“I have heard some critics say these instructions have been given before but I will challenge them to produce any other IGP that has given these instructions very clearly, articulated these instructions like the way IGP M.A Adamu has done,” the police spokesman added.
Mba said the police leadership is aware that some officers have conducted themselves in the past in manners that are inconsistent with the code of conduct and oat of office, and standard operational procedures.
But he noted that the force has a strong mechanism in dealing with erring officers.
“The good thing about the police is that it is one organization that has a strong internal mechanism for dealing with inappropriate behaviours, professional misconduct for its personnel.
“We will not shy away from this core responsibility of ours in bringing our personnel to book when they err.
“We are one of those few organisations that will publicly name and shame our own, we are one of those organisations that will publicly arrest our own.”
He asked citizens of the country to give the force some time.
Referencing the recent killing of a police officer on Thursday during the #EndSARS protest in Delta State, the police image maker also expressed concern about the lack of condemnation and the silence by Nigerians when officers are murdered.
“I have also seen footages of Nigerians slapping police officers and these officers are keeping quiet, controlling themselves,” he lamented.
He reiterated that the Special Anti-Robbery Squad is a societal and common response that handles crime in the country.
The Force PRO noted that before now, the police never had any special outfit called SARS, and explained that the unit was set up at a time when armed robberies were on the increase, so “the police authorities came up with SARS which became an elevated platform for the police to confront crime.”
DCP Mba revealed that some of these operatives are well trained to tackle violent crime, kidnapping and bank robbery.
He said their intervention has effectively saved the nation from total embarrassment and restored sanity to where the robbery was on an increase.
Giving an example, Frank Mba said that operatives of the SARS were able to help in fishing out and arresting the killers of the daughter of the Afenifere leaders.
On restrictions placed on police officers, DCP Mba reiterated that no police officer is allowed to go to the streets carrying out their duties without being properly dressed.
He also added that no police officer should mount blocks, indiscriminate, and authorized searching people’s smartphones or mobile devices.
Mba’s comment is coming on the heels of protests by Nigerians calling for a ban on SAR enters its third day.
The Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, last week banned the personnel of the Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad (FSARS) and other Tactical Squads of the Force from embarking on routine patrols.
But the directive by the IGP does not seem to go down well with the youths as many, including celebrities, are protesting calling for the end of SARS.
The activities of the police unit in recent times have come under scrutiny and several members of the squad have been found guilty of using their position of authority to trample on the rights of citizens, especially the youths.