Security: Anti-SARS Protest Taking A turn For The Worse

By Elizabeth Chukwuma

The anti-SARS, protest across the country is taking a turn for the  worse as police arrest and allegedly killing  unarmed protesters. Take for instance, in the Surulere  area of Lagos state, one protester was  said to have been killed on Monday, October 12, 2020. Two ladies, were said to have been arrested a and baten to stupoour .   The killing of the alleged protester is coming on the heels thatBabajide Samwo-Olu, the state governor, who was in Akure, the Ondo state Capital , in his capacity as the Chairman of the All Progressive Congress, APC,  National Campaign Council  for the south west state governorship Election on Saturday, October 10, 2020, had returned to the state with a bombshell.

 Sanwo-0lu, had  given kudos  to  the Nigerian Youths over  their demonstration   against, SARS, which had facilitated the scrapping of the police sub-unit by Mohammed Adamu, the Inspector General of Police, IGP. but the Lagos state governor may have entered into the black book of the protesting Youths in Lagos when he tried to calm the protesters at urulere. Ther was spontaneous shout of : where is Buharri. Thee governor may have sensed that there is danger that he was force to leave the scene.

 Many believe that the IGP had created the  room for the nation-wide demonstration against the police sub-unit  by banning their personnel and other tactical squads  of the Force from  routine Patrols  and other Conventional duties, checkpoints, mounting of roadblocks traffic checks among others.. The tactical squads that were said to have been  affected alongside SARS  by  the  ban included the Special Tactical squad, STS, Intelligence Response Team, IRT,  Anti-Cultism  squad and other tactical squads operating at the Federal, Zonal and Command  levels.

The IGP, may have dampened the hopes of Nigerians of scrapping the SARS, which had been condemned by all well-meaning Nigerians including Atiku Abubakar, a former Vice President and Presidential Candidate of the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, in the 2019, general elections, Bukola Saraki, a former governor of Kwara state and also a one –time Senate President and Omo-Agege, a Lawyer, and Deputy Snate President in the 9th Senate.

 He had have fueled the crisis when he said that RARS  ‘’remain  a critical component  of the Force  in confronting  prevailing  and emerging violent crimes in the country’’. The Statement may have triggered the call for the  scrapping of the 9 year-old  SARS , which had  given the Force a bad image.

In scrapping the police tactical units, particular SARS,  Adamu, the IGP. had acknowledged’’reports  of extortion,  and brutality  against the squad’’. He may have gladdened the heart of Nigerians when he announced plans of investigating the SARS personnel butthat was how far he could go.

But barely 24 hours of scrapping the notorious SARS and promise to investigate the personnel, Nigerians are not yet done with their demand for a Complete reform of the Force.

Although, the IGP, had bowed to pressure to scrap  SARS, particular, but, Nigerians, appear not satisfied with the action. They want President Muhammadu Buhari to issue an Executive Order disbanding the Force special squad, to confirm that the IGP, was right.   The aggrieved  Nigerians had  every reason to doubt the IGP, Statement that SARS had been scrapped at the Federal, Zonal and 36 states of the Federation.

Anti-SARS Protesters In Lagos

 The argument of Critics is that this is not the first time the police Authorities had told Nigerians that the SARS, had been disbanded    and only for it to return in a more deadly form. But Sanwo-Olu, the Lagos state governor would want Nigerians to believe that  ‘’this is the first time, that the police , under the close watch of   Adamu, is dissolving the team’’, pleading with the aggrieved  Youths’’ to sheath there sword’’.

Given the direction the protest is taking and the recent Advice by Enock Adejare Adeboye, the General Overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, RCCG, to the Katsina state born President to restructure Nigeria to  avoid  disintegration may have informed  why he had promised  ‘’to carry out ‘’extensive reform  of the Nigerian Police Force, NPF. He noted  that scrapping of SARS, by the IGP  is the first step  to the planned extensive  police reforms  by his Administration.

The President was said to have opened up  at the launch  of  the Presidential Youth Empowerment Scheme, P-YES at the VILLA on Monday, October 12, 2020. He may have been touched by the SARS personnel brutality  in the country  that he had  described as genuine , ‘’the concerns  and agitations by Nigerians  about the excessive  use of force , extra-judicial killings  and wrongful conduct  of the men of the NPF, particular, SARS.

He  has assured Nigerians that as part of the extensive reforms of the Force in order  to ensure  that the primary duty  of the police  and other law enforcement agencies  remains the protection of lives and livelihood of people, the government has no option  but ‘’to order the scrapping of SARS.

He has made it clear to those that cares to lisen that ‘’all those  who responsible  for the conduct  or wrongful acts would be brought to justice’’.There are indications  that the government  may likely  set up an Independent body  for  the Investigation  and prosecution  of  all alleged  reports of police misconduct .

Recall that Femi Gbajabiamila, Speaker, House of Representatives , who is not  happy at the turn of events in the country, had called on Adamu, the IGP, ‘’to ensure  that the Personnel of SARS , who were involved  in the  Human Rights  violations   were brought to justice’’.

Adamu: IGP

 Gbajabiamila, who could not his feelings on Sunday, October, 11, 2020, had said  that the police Authorities  ‘’must  act to  identify  and punish those  Operatives of the SARS, that are involved in the severe cases of Human Rights abuse , brutality,   and murder of innocent Nigerians, who mostly Youths’’.

The House Speaker  believes that if this could be done,’’ it  will  quell  the ongoing  protests across  the country’’. The He  was said to have also asked the IGP ‘’to produce a Compressive record  of disciplinary   or judicial action that had been  taken  against  the personnel of SARS who had been accused   of abuse  of power  in the last five years.

Perhaps,  to assure Nigerians that the Lawmakers are solidly behind their action,  the House  Speaker was said to have equally  asked the IGP, who is bearing  the heat of Nigerians protest, ‘’to  produce  an immediate action   plan  for  identifying  and Compensating the victims  of the SARS, brutality and abuse.  Many believe that this may  be  a difficult assignment for Adamu, because SARS had passed through  seven IGPs in the last nine years.

 It was said to have been popularised  by  Ringim, who had  formed it to curb  the increasing cases of  armed robbery, kidnapping and other violent crimes across the country, Mohammed Dikko Abubakar, had inherited the squad  from Ringim, who in turn passed it on to Suleiman Abb.  Abba had handed the squad ver to  Solomon.E. Arase, and who in turn handed over to   Ibrahim Idris., who also handed the squad  over the infamous unit to Adamu.

Many believe that if the past IGPs, from Ringim to Idris, had taken the bold initiative  to address the  excesses of the SARS, personnel the situation may not have  degenerated to the level of Nigerians calling for the reform of the NPF, through  protest to register their  anger against SARS, particular.

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