Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Issues That Matter With Isaac Ologbosere: The Defunct SARS and a Call for a Reformed Police


The defunct Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) was obviously created to aid the police in ensuring that there is safety and sanity in the state. It was also created to ensure that criminals who engage in robbery activities do not have their way in the society. As their name connotes, it is a special anti-robbery squad which means it is against robbery of any kind, whether armed or unarmed robbery. I must first commend the defunct SARS for the legitimate roles they have played in the fight against criminal activities in Nigeria.

However, there is a saying that goes thus: "when purpose is not known abuse sets in". I would like to discuss some of the ordeals that have been experienced by Nigerian youths in the hands of this "special squad".

To begin with, often than not, the SARS officials engage in unlawful detention of youths in the state. It is almost a crime in the state to look rich or to drive a fancy car while you are in your early twenties. There is a discrimination that follows the fact that you are rich but still very young. This discrimination needs to be broken. Whenever this anti-robbery squad cites a young Nigerian in a flashy car or in designer clothes, he or she is considered to be a fraudster without proper investigation into his or her source of wealth, but rather quick assumptions are made.

This is appalling and degrading. Furthermore, these SARS officials have been engaged in physical assaults of most youths in the state. When a car is flagged down by these officials and its owner is a young man or woman, he or she is told to come down from the vehicle and forcefully held against his or her will from continuing the journey that was being made before by the "victim".

The SARS officials then starts to ask questions that are often times irrelevant to the situation at hand. Questions like "where is your driver's license" is not asked but questions like "let me see your phone or who bought this car for you?" are asked. Failure to answer these irrelevant questions leads to heavy blows and slaps being rained on the victim.

 In addition, these SARS officials strike fear instead of hope in the hearts of the young people thereby making the road an unpleasant place to drive on for many of these youths for fear of assault and unlawful arrest.

Their presence stirs fear, anger and hatred in the hearts of the youths in the state. Their activities are demeaning and not what we looked forward to when they were being created. Their job was to protect, but they put innocent lives in danger and instead of making the state a peaceful zone, they are making things worse for the citizens of the state.

The Special Anti-Robbery Squad activities are against Nigerian youths which includes unlawful detention of young adults for no crime at all, manhandling of innocent youths and making the state unbearable for the future leaders. Although SARS has been scrapped and ultimately renamed to SWAT (Special Weapon Tactical Team), we believe they are absolutely the same as SARS and if not well reformed would abuse power more than the defunct SARS. The police sector or department of this country should therefore be looked into by the government and necessary actions should be taken to make it better.

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