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FACT-CHECK: SARS has been in existence since 1992, not a creation of PDP as claimed by APC scribe

Claim

The Deputy National Publicity Secretary of the APC, Yekini Nabena, tweeted that the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) was created by the People’s Democratic Party (PDP). 

Verdict

FALSE.

Full text

After a series of protests against the activities of Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, in a press briefing on October 11 announced the disbandment of the infamous unit of the Nigeria Police Force.

In reaction to the announcement and continued protest, the Deputy National Publicity Secretary of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Yekini Nabena, tweeted that the unit is a creation of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP).

“Who created SARS? PDP,” he wrote in a tweet suggesting that the unit was established during the PDP administration. The PDP ruled at Nigeria’s federal level from 1999 when the country returned to democracy and 2015.

As of Tuesday afternoon, the tweet had garnered 401 retweets, 168 likes and 468 comments. While majority commenters appear to know this claim to be false, few believe it is true. 

A Twitter user, Sokunle Muiz Tosin with handle @ThisIsShoksman tweeted, “So APC was blind for 5 years? It took oppressed young Nigerian to make you do the right thing #Shameful.” Another user, named New Nigeria and tweeted via his handle @GemstoneMD said: “whatever!!! Our cry is just that #SARSMUSTEND.”

One of those who thinks the claim is false, Godwin German, tweeted on his handle, @Godwin_German thus: “Read the Vanguard newspaper of today. Not PDP. It was a child of necessity that was abused and stigmatized.” Alalade Bukola Felix @alaladebukolaf1 tweeted: “SARS was created in 1992 and PDP was founded in 1998. It’s erroneous to say PDP created SARS.”

How true is Mr Nabena’s claim?

Verification

Firstly, Dubawa reached out to Mr Nabena but he declined comments on the ownership of the unverified handle and the claim. It should be noted that the handle has been used to issue statements on behalf of APC in the past and such statements were never denied.

Information about the creation of SARS cannot be found on the website of the Nigeria Police Force, even SARS can be found as a section under the Force Criminal Investigation and Intelligence Department (FCIID).

report by Vanguard traced the creation of SARS to 1992 during the General Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida military junta. A retired Commissioner of Police, Simeon Midenda, who was quoted in the December 23, 2017 report said the unit was created through his effort.

In the report, Midenda was quoted as saying “SARS was founded by me in 1992. For a proper understanding of this, historical background to its formation is relevant. Anti-Robbery as the modus operandi of the Nigeria Police Force for combating armed robbery has been as old as the Police Force itself. As a unit also, anti-robbery had always existed in all Criminal Investigation Departments at Force Headquarters, Zonal and State Command levels. To claim that I founded SARS required explanation.”

Also, it should be noted the PDP, to which Mr Nabena attributed the establishment of SARS did not come into existence until 1998, in the run-up to the February 1999 general election which it eventually won.

Conclusion

SARS was not a creation of the People Democratic Party (PDP) as claimed by APC Deputy National Publicity Secretary. The police unit has been in existence since 1992.

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