Fulani Kwajafa, a former commissioner of police behind the creation of the disbanded special anti-robbery squad (SARS), says he regrets creating the unit.
In an interview with BBC Hausa, he said over time, SARS derailed from the intent for which it was created.
Mohammed Adamu, inspector-general of police, disbanded the anti-robbery unit on Sunday, following a nationwide outrage.
Speaking on how SARS came to be, Kwajafa explained that in the 1980s, there was an upsurge in criminal activities in the country, especially in Lagos.
According to him, Muhammadu Buhari, then head of state, ordered Etim Inyang, then inspector-general of police, to come up with a strategy to tackle the armed robbery incidents in the country.
“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,” Kwajafa said.
“Four months after the formation of SARS in 1984, the unit flushed out the criminals and there was peace.”
He added that in the original plan of SARS, its operatives were not meant to be involved with “members of the public”.
Kwajafa said some members of SARS, however, now indulge in the same crime they were formed to fight against.
“SARS of today is not the same SARS I established in 1984. 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 said.
“I always tell my wife that I was sad that what I created with good purpose and direction has been turned into banditry.”
Commenting on the new Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) unit meant to replace SARS, Kwajafa said changes might be undermined if there is no “change in mentality”.