A retired Police Commissioner, Fulani Kwajafa who was the brain behind the establishment of Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) during Major Gen. Muhammadu Buhari’s military regime, had said he regrets forming it.
In an interview with BBC Hausa Service, the former police officer said SARS was formed when the then military head of state ordered the then Inspector-General of Police, Etim Inyang, to come up with a strategy to fight rampant armed-robbery incidents in the country.
He also said that the police formation had derailed from what it was created to do at inception. The retired police officer had two years ago in an interview with a newspaper warned that if this anomaly was not redressed it could lead to revolt among the populace.
Mr Inyang served as IGP between 1983 to 1986. He was preceded in office by Sunday Adewusi while Gambo Jimeta succeeded him.
According to Kwajafa, the upsurge in violent criminal activities prompted then military head of state Inyang and his lieutenants to do anything to stem the tide of armed robbery incidents in the country or lose their job.
He said, “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.
“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,” he 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.
Meanwhile, protests across some cities in the country are still ongoing calling for extensive police reforms, end to police brutality, extortion, intimidation, harassment, among other vices, levelled against the Nigeria Police Force.