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Lagos State Police Command Addresses Concerns Over Armed Officer on Roadside

The Lagos State Police Command has responded to concerns raised over the sighting of a uniformed officer standing on the road with an assault rifle. The photo of the operative with the assault rifle had been trending on social media, with Twitter users asking if the disbanded Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) had been remobilized.

Following the nationwide protests in October 2020, the Nigerian government disbanded the notorious police unit known as SARS in response to public outcry. However, after the sighting of the officer with the assault rifle, Twitter users wondered if the unit had been brought back.

One Twitter user, @AyoBankole, who had sighted the officer, asked if SARS was back on Lagos roads. He also referred to the officer as an “armed robber-looking” man standing on the highway along the Lekki-Epe expressway. The tweet generated over 2.4 million views, 4,000 retweets, and hundreds of comments from angry respondents. Some shared similar photos and videos of assaults in other states.

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Responding to the concerns raised, Police Public Relations Officer, SP Benjamin Hundeyin, clarified that the officer was 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 different parts of Lagos within two weeks.

Hundeyin explained that the officer and his colleagues were on their way to an assignment when they ran into a heavy gridlock. Due to the time-sensitive nature of their assignment, they disembarked to clear the traffic. While some directed cars to ease the gridlock, others, like the officer pictured, were “on guard.” Hundeyin further pointed out that their jackets had POLICE boldly written on them, while some wore helmets with POLICE inscribed on them.

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The police spokesperson also noted that the officers did not engage in stop-and-search, nor were they on routine township patrol. Instead, they were responding to a specific assignment. He commended the citizen who had reported the incident and encouraged residents and visitors to report any police misbehavior.

Furthermore, Hundeyin assured the public that the command under CP Owohunwa would not tolerate any form of unprofessionalism. The police image maker emphasized the importance of professionalism in the police force, stating that they were committed to protecting lives and property while upholding the law.

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In conclusion, the Lagos State Police Command has responded to the concerns raised over the sighting of an officer with an assault rifle on the roadside. The police spokesperson clarified that the officer and his colleagues were members of tactical units tasked with tackling cultism and were on a specific assignment. Hundeyin further assured the public of the command’s commitment to professionalism and urged residents and visitors to report any police misbehavior.

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