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Opinion

Beyond The Disbandment Of SARS

In the last few days, we have seen rounds of protest to #EndSars and the hashtag ‘#EndPolicebrutality’ circulate. But it must first be established that the major concerns that brought about much attention have been the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) using torture, unlawful detention and gross misconduct against the people they’re supposed to protect and serve.

Over the years, they have been an increasing list of names whose lives were taken by the SARS tactical squad. Just less than a month after the enforcement of COVID-19 curfew; Al Jazeera reports that at least 18 people in Nigeria were killed by security forces during the enforcement of measures to curb the spread of COVID-19, a figure higher than the documented toll inflicted by the disease. In a case that shone attention on police heartlessness is eight of those killed by correctional officers in the northwest Kaduna state. It’s sadly common to see law enforcement officers prioritising bribery, brutality, illegal raid, extortion and other unprofessional actions. 

Of course, the current uprising against law enforcement agencies is prompted by the series of senseless murder and severe assault; but the SARS — a unit under the Nigeria Police Force Criminal Investigation and Intelligence Department charged with the prevention and investigation of armed robbery and other serious crimes — has been stirring violence, dehumanising and extrajudicial executions in their security services. 

Following the latest disbandment of Federal Special Anti – Robbery Squad by Muhammad Adamu, the Inspector General of Police over the unrest and extrajudicial killings by SARS operatives nationwide. It is expedient to note that the disbandment of this tactical squad is just a starting point, as well as a reminder on the investigation of abuses — urgent reformation in policing particularly reshaping the police policy in the recruitment, promotion and proper training of law enforcement officers.

Also, beyond the Civil Rights Movement. We need to take the existing laws around police brutality an ample strategy to regulating the operation and misconduct— it’s is enough to disband SARS in words but. Above all, the disbandment must be backed up with commitment and best practices in the entire policing operations. 

We know the security forces in Nigeria have caused a series of human rights violations. Thus, to break down these absurdities will require a long-lasting undertaking; this must include good funding for the personal and professional gratuity. It saddens me that the allowance of the Police Force is sickening. In all honesty, the budgetary allocation to this department should show a reflection of importance, at least there risk their lives to protect us through their efficient monitoring and intelligence gathering.

Perhaps, beyond the institutional approach of SARS disbandment; activities of the law enforcement agencies must be hinged on the police been indebted to the policed, there should be educated on the principles of policing. No citizen deserves the violation of their rights and freedoms. Meanwhile, that fact that allowing armed men in casual SARS jackets without any personal identification has subsequent create a situation where the public hardly distinguish between the cop and armed rubber. It’s crucial to understand that while nonviolence protest as endorsed by the constitution is the preferred method of demanding justice, the yet attempt to reform the Police Force should live up to Nigerians’ expectation.

This opinion story has been published on CAMPUS REPORTER with very minimal editing to preserve the original voice of the author. CAMPUS REPORTER does not bear any responsibility for the contents of this story, all views belong to the author.

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