•By Emmanuel Edom•
In a bid to ensure civil policing in a democratic dispensation, the German Government in collaboration with the Federal Government of Nigeria has put up an internal program to reshape the operations of the crime bursting out fit, Federal Special Anti Robbery Squad (FSARS).
According to the lnspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, the two weeks training for personnel of the unit across the federation is to enhance professionalism and ensure that officers of FSARS act in line with international best practices.
Recall that the Presidency had recently ordered for the reformation of the unit, which led to the IGP’s directive for a centralised FSARS with a Commissioner of Police overseeing its affair, while it handles strictly anti-robbery and Kidnapping cases.
Hence, experts from the German Foreign Office will facilitate the training, which will focus on how not to violate Human Rights as FSARS personnel deliver on their new mandate.
Speaking at the inauguration of the training held at Police College in Ikeja on Monday, IGP Idris said the training is a holistic approach to enhance the performance of 135 personnel comprising of commanders, team leaders and foot soldiers of FSARS, which is in accordance with the recent Presidential directive.
In his opening speech, the IGP who was represented by the Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIG) in charge of Training, DIG Emmanuel Inyang said, “Let me remind you that SARS was initially established to take charge of specific functions pertaining to crime prevention and control as well as to secure life and property, but their direct contact with members of the public has brought conflict, friction and perceived human rights abuses and the inherent complaints arising from the performance of their duties.
“The need by the present leadership to reposition the FSARS through capacity building calls for training and retraining of the officers and men. Therefore, there is no doubt whatsoever that this training will provide the necessary platform for all the participants, particularly the foot soldiers of SARS to understand the necessity of imbibing Human rights at their duty posts and stations and therefore be able to identify problem areas and consequently advance possible solutions to such problems whenever they come across them.
“This effort by the police management and GIZ Police Programme on Human Right in restructuring the FSARS will certainly be of immense benefit to the Nigeria Police Force that has been statutorily and constitutionally saddled with the responsibility of protecting the rights of every Nigerian.
On what the training hopes to achieve, the Police Boss said “ FSARS personnel will be re-equipped with the essential knowledge of human rights, proactive policing, collation of intelligence and the provision of a pragmatic approach to investigate activities and support to police stations.”
Idris however warned that erring officers who do not embrace the fundamental human rights principles would continue to receive commensurate punishment while those who are diligent can expect to be handsomely rewarded.
The GIZ Deputy Project Manager, Pol8ce Project Africa in Nigeria, Hartmut Zander said the German Government had to step in to assist in the training of FSARS personnel due to some cases of the violation of human rights in the discharge of their duties.
In his remark, Zander said, “ Around 135 police officers, among them officers from over 36 states are going to be trained by internal police trainers as well as external resource persons in relevant human rights principals, which apply to different police interventions.
“By combining theoretical knowledge and standards, with practical aspects of human rights-centred police work, the training covers a broad range of related topics such as principles for the use of force and firearms, investigations arrest and detention.”
Speaking on the level of compliance with the new reform in FSARS, Commissioner of Police, FSARS, CP Hilaru Gwandu said FSARS across the federation were complying with the new directive.
Gwandu said, “For the purpose of reforms and to enhance competence and professionalism, a standard operational procedure (SOP) was designed to guide the operations of the reformed FSARS. For now there is no problem as the number of litigations have reduced. Our personnel have shown that they are ready for the change.”
Also present at the inauguration were the Commissioner of Police, Police college, CP Adekinte Oyekan, and other senior officers.