Nigeria’s Acting President Yemi Osinbajo has ordered the immediate overhaul of a police unit following allegations of human rights abuses.
The special anti-robbery squad, known as Sars, will be reformed and a new commissioner appointed to head it.
The unit has become notorious for allegations of extra-judicial killings, arbitrary arrests, torture and extortion.
There has been growing public pressure for the squad – responsible for tackling serious crime such as armed robbery, kidnapping and cattle rustling – to be disbanded.
The hashtag #EndSars has been trending in Nigeria for months.
In a statement Mr Osinbajo, who is the country’s vice-president, said he was taking this action “following persistent complaints and reports on the activities of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (Sars) that border on allegations of human rights violations”.
The vice-president is filling in for President Muhammadu Buhari who is currently on holiday.
He said the reformed unit should be intelligence-driven and its mandate restricted to combating armed robbery and kidnappings.
Members of the squad should wear proper identification while on duty as well as respect human rights and the rule of law, he added.
The National Human Rights Commission of Nigeria has also been directed to set up a special panel to investigate the alleged unlawful activities of the anti-robbery police unit
The committee is to give the public the opportunity to present their complaints and seek redress.