Nigeria’s Christian Leaders Welcome Disbandment of Contentious Force, Protest Redeployment

Nigerians protesting against the controversial Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) in the country's capital Abuja.

Christian leaders in Nigeria have welcomed the decision of the country’s government to disband the controversial Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), whose members have been accused of committing various atrocities.

In their collective statement obtained by ACI Africa, the members of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) however protest the decision to redeploy SARS officers to other security organs in the West African nation.

“CAN appreciates the prompt and positive responses of the Federal Government in disbanding SARS. It is unprecedented in recent history of our country and it is praiseworthy. This is what democracy is all about,” the representatives of Christian leaders in Nigeria say.

In their October 13 statement signed by CAN President, Rev. Samson Ayokunle, the leaders however add, “CAN is not happy with the automatic (redeployment) of the officers and men of the disbanded unit to other units without sanctioning the bad eggs among them.”

As a way forward, the representatives of Christian leaders in Africa’s most populous nation call for a judicial investigation into the disbanded entity “with a view to bringing the culprits to book so that such bad eggs might not be allowed to corrupt other units or continue with their old habit of lawlessness.”


The country’s Inspector of Police announced the disbandment of SARS October 11 “with immediate effect,” with its members expected to be redeployed to other police formations, commands and units. The force had existed as a branch of the Nigerian Police Force.

The disbandment followed days of online outcry under #EndSARSprotest and nationwide protests over claims of harassment, extrajudicial killings, kidnappings and extortion by officers under SARS.

In a statement, Archbishop Alfred Adewale Martins of Lagos Archdiocese expressed his support for the protests, calling for a “thorough and realistic review of the entire structure of the Police Force in order to restore its integrity.”

In their October 13 statement, members of CAN who include representatives of the Catholic Secretariat of Nigeria (CSN) make known their dissatisfaction amid street protests, those involved decrying the redeployment decision.

CAN leadership wants the punishment of SARS officers found culpable, and the country’s security agencies “reformed and transformed into a modern security architecture that befits the contemporary challenges such as terrorism, banditry, kidnapping, and herdsmen attacks.”

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“Uniformed men and women should cherish the rare opportunity the country gave them and the trust of handling the security of the nation by behaving responsibly. They should make us proud of them,” the representatives of Christian leaders say in their October 13 collective statement.