Police deny SARS return in Lagos amid public outrage

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On Tuesday the Lagos State Police Command has reacted to the outrage over the sighting of a uniformed officer standing on the road with an assault rifle.

A photo of the operative, with an assault rifle trended on social media with Twitter users asking if the disbanded Special anti-Robbery Squad, SARS, has been remobilised.

Recall that the federal government had bowed to public outcry and disbanded the notorious police unit after the October 2020 nationwide End SARS protests that shook Nigeria.

But @AyoBankole, one Twitter user who sighted the Police officer had asked if the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) were back on duty.

“Is SARS back on Lagos roads? Or why are skinny jeans, armed robber looking, gun blazing unmarked men standing on the highway along Lekki-Epe express?” he quipped.

The tweet generated 2.4 million views, over 4,000 retweets and hundreds of comments by angry respondents; some shared similar photos and videos of assaults in states.

In response, Police Public Relations Officer, SP Benjamin Hundeyin said the officer is a member of the tactical units reorganized by CP Idowu Owohunwa to tackle cultism.

The spokesperson noted that he and others were behind the recent arrest of 42 suspected cultists in a space of two weeks in different parts of Lagos.

“On this day, they were going for an assignment and ran into a heavy gridlock. Due to how time-sensitive the assignment was, they disembarked to clear the traffic.

“While a few of them were directing cars to ease the gridlock, others like the one pictured were ‘on guard…They all had police identity on them.”

Hundeyin pointed out that their jackets had POLICE boldly written while some had helmets with POLICE boldly inscribed on them.

The PRO said road users applauded the personnel as at no point did they engage in stop-and-search, neither were they on routine township patrol.

He, however, commended the citizen for “seeing something and saying something” and encouraged residents and visitors to report any police misbehaviour.

The security agency’s image maker further assured that the command under CP Owohunwa “will not tolerate any form of unprofessionalism”.

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