Governors fault timing of SWAT formation, urge IGP to shelve plan

Governors of the 36 states in the country on Thursday urged the Inspector- General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, to “consult widely” before going ahead with the plans to form another police unit to replace the now-disbanded Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS).

The IGP had on Tuesday announced the establishment of Special Weapons and Tactics Team (SWAT) to replace SARS which was disbanded by the police authorities following protests by Nigerians over the tactical squad’s brutality.

The governors in a communiqué issued at the end of their meeting with the IGP in Abuja and signed by the Chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum, said the timing of the SWAT formation was currently not auspicious because of the mood of Nigerians.

They stressed that the public may misconstrue the idea as an attempt to dress the disbanded SARS in fresh robes.

Adamu had informed the governors that the new SWAT team being put together by the police authorities would only carry out intelligence-based activities and would not be involved in regular operations.

The communiqué read: “The IGP informed the Forum that after a psychological and medical evaluation, SWAT officers will be trained and posted to all state commands – about 50 per state, where they will operate only on intelligence-driven operations.

“They will not take part in routine operations but will operate specifically on intelligence after which they will return to their commands.

“The IGP assured governors that he will leverage the provisions of the new Police Act 2020 to carry out extensive reforms within the Police and he pledged for the support, understanding, and guidance of governors to embark on the new reforms.“

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