A Kaduna-based Non-Governmental Organization, under the aegis of the Unified Nigeria Youth Forum (UNYF) has condemned in strong terms ongoing campaign for the scrapping of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad, SARS, of the Nigeria Police.
The youth group made the call yesterday, December 6, in Kaduna, describing the call as a misplaced priority and calling for training and retraining of the officers of the squad to enhance their performance.
President of the group, Abdulsalam Mohammed Kazeem, in a statement made available to newsmen in Kaduna, the state capital, noted that “those calling for the scrapping of SARS should take a critical look at the role the special squad is playing in reducing crime rates in the country.”
Part of the statement said:
“No security agency in Nigeria today is 100 per cent perfect, and as such, we must bear with them on their shortcomings, while the challenges of their imperfection could be attributed to poor training and selection process.
“There is also the problem of training and re-training of personnel, lack of adequate man-power, lack of adequate logistics and better welfare package for the personnel.
“Therefore, the Forum is calling on all progressive minded citizens and civil society organisations to rather pressurize the present administration to either sack all security chiefs or give them ultimatum on when to bring all these security challenges to an end.
“It is on record that during the past administration, under President Goodluck Jonathan we were confronted with severe bombing attacks.
“Today, the country under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari is witnessing cases of continuous kidnappings of innocent citizens and herdsmen attacking communities with the sole aim of destroying lives and properties in Adamawa, Benue, Plateau, Taraba, Kaduna and Nassarawa States.
An hashtag #ENDSARS, calling for the scrapping of the police unit, trended on the social media over the weekend.
Nigerians, who used the social media to recount their experiences with SARS operatives, listed allegations of extra-judicial killings, wanton arrests and dispossession of properties through physical assault and other intimidation tactics.
In a series of tweets on social media, top musicians including Don Jazzy, Olamide, Simi, Falz, Reekado Banks, Dremo, Jon Ogah, DJ Spinall, Sam Klef, Tjan, Lil Kesh among others, called on the federal government to scrap the SARS unit of the Police Force as a result of their excesses.
“Over 100,000 tweets from concerned Nigerians. The people don’t feel protected. If we cannot fix SARS then end SARS”, Don Jazzy lamented.
For YBNL rapper, Olamide, police men are meant to separate personal problems from work challenges which in turn cause them to make life miserable for innocent citizens they are meant to protect. “End SARS brutality, plenty suffer man de face. Guide and protect the people not make life miserable for them due to the pressure that comes with your work or what you going through at home. A man with gun should be mentally balanced and well oriented.”
X3M singer, Simi, recounted her recent bitter experience with the now dreaded police unit. “People are not supposed to be afraid of the people that are supposed to be looking after us. A couple of weeks ago, at almost midnight, my friends and I had a gun pointed at us for laughing. Take guns away from trigger happy people who hide behind the uniform”, end SARS”, she wrote.
Mavin music act, Reekado Banks mocked the police unit for it’s unprofessionalism at executing their job. “How will you ask someone for the receipt of their cars, laptops and phones? Mr. SARS official, Where’s your gun’s receipt.”
Ex- Big Brother Naija 2017 contestant and singer, Jon Ogah, also narrated his ordeal with SARS. “I remember when SARS operatives forcefully took my friend and I to the station. They threatened to plant guns in the car and make sure we go to jail. I was shocked when the officer said it with confidence. Imagine how many people are in jail for crimes they never did.” Phyno wasn’t left out, he wrote; “Protect not oppress, end SARS brutality”.