The curious case of SARS and the Nigerian police leaves one bewildered as pressure mounts for the scrapping of SARS and a restructure of the Nigerian Police. For those who might not know the meaning of SARS, it is an acronym for Special Anti-Robbery Squad, a division within the Nigerian Police created to fight violent crimes.
However, recent reports show that they have gone beyond their set jurisdiction. Tales are abound about how SARS operatives have become a law onto themselves. They are the judge, the jury, the prosecutor.
Let me give you a recipe for disaster in this case. Take a loaded weapon, hand it over to an illiterate, ill-paid, under-paid, low self-esteemed individual. You get an egoistic maniac intent on misusing power!!!
This article is not to take away the gains made by SARS, and we should give kudos to them but the harm they are causing to society far outweighs the gains. Go on Facebook and twitter and be regaled with stories that would haunt you.
The #EndSars and #ReformNPF campaign which is being spearheaded by @segalink (Segun Sega Awosanya), shows that public confidence in SARS and the Nigerian Police has eroded to the lowest ebb. It is sad to think that the Nigerian Police are a force for the 14th century in this 21st century.
Yes, they are under paid and understaffed; this does not excuse the countless crimes they have committed in their given duty of safeguarding lives and protecting citizens. Extra judicial killings, assault, bribery are just few of the abuse of power perpetrated by members of SARS.
So is it right for this rogue division to be scrapped?
Well let us examine the responses from the authorities. The Inspector General Idris Kpotun Ibrahim has ordered that SARS be reformed but reforms to what extent?
The reforms being proposed can best be described as putting old wine in new bottles. This is because the structures in place for SARS are basically being maintained and nobody is being made to answer for crimes committed. Meaning we still have these gun totting crazed individuals walking around with a vendetta against the citizens.
Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? Can we trust the police to actually carry out the necessary reforms when they will be judges over their own case?
Certainly not as by their actions the Nigerian police have cast aspersions as to the real intent of this campaign. For a public institution with a mandate to serve and protect, the police force should listen to the people they are meant to serve. Thousands of people have with one voice condemned the activities of SARS and at large the police force. One would expect the police force to embrace this criticism and come out the better but events after show that except we Nigerians force the change we want, the police prefer the current status quo.
As a Nigerian, I would crave your indulgence in standing up against this monstrosity which is slowly becoming the norm and ensure that our rights as a citizen are well protected. I do not have to give my mobile device to a policeman to go through especially without a search warrant. I do not have to be treated like an animal just because of the clothes I wear or the devices I have on me or my hair style.
I am human and should be treated as such.
The recent treatment of Senator Dino Melaye by the police has seen the “Hallowed Chambers” come out with one voice to condemn the Nigerian police. I would like to point out that whilst the police have carried out their duty in a rogue and condescending manner, it is no different to how they have treated and are treating citizens of this country. Should the senators therefore cry wolf, when they “ignored our screams? If anything, it should spur them to take appropriate actions before this hydra headed monster evolves beyond hopes of redemption.