NDLEA SWAT men stopping Nigerians to check their phones on the road, are not authorised to do so, chairman of the agency, Col. Muhammad Mustapha Abdallah said today.
In an SMS to P.M.News on the trending images of NDLEA SWAT, behaving like the disbanded SARS, by stopping vehicles and checking phones, Abdallah said:
“The Agency does not check people’s phones without due official authorisation. Even that is done in the office not the streets.
Phone searching, I repeat is not a street duty we ordinarily undertake”, he emphasised.
Abdallah also enjoined concerned Nigerians to demand the ID of NDLEA SWAT men, whenever they crossed their path.
“All NDLEA personnel have official identification. Please demand for it”, the retired colonel said..
His clarifications came Monday when Nigerians expressed apprehension and deja vu following the trending photographs of armed men wearing NDLEA SWAT bullet proof vests, stopping vehicles to check the phones of “suspects”.
This was the kind of reprehensible behaviour by men of the defunct Special Anti Robbery Squad, along with their brutality, that built up public hostility, leading to the #EndSARS protest in October.
Now NDLEA SWAT men appeared to have replaced SARS on the road.
“Who are all these ones again?”, wrote Jaynaija blog.
“My God, what’s the meaning NDLEA SWAT, what does it have to do with checking people’s phones?”, asked #hashtagLFC.
Read some other reactions to the appearance of NDLEA SWAT men on phone search duties: