In the past, I have written about Nigerian Police 👮♀️ and their notoriety. But the more worrying part is the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS). The name does bring bad memories not for criminals but young Nigerians. In fact, our brilliant young professionals are targets of the SARS operatives.
There are many sad stories on Twitter of people killed, injured and extorted. Reports of SARS operatives forcing people to transfer hard earned money. It is such sad stories. The real criminals are enjoying a free ride whilst innocent, hardworking Nigerians are afraid to carry their laptops and smartphones around. Such a shame.
SARS is an indication of the larger problem of the society. Above the law mindset that is prevalent everywhere. The press release in this post is a good start but more has to happen. Below are some points:
- An independent body should be the one citizens report these Police infringements to. This body will sue police for each reported malpractice for a big sum. The amount must be paid to the victim each time an infringement happens. By the time you force someone to pay 200K and you pay 5M in penalties, heads would start rolling and more responsibility ensues.
- An overhaul of the Police force starting by renaming and rebranding. The Nigerian Police Force should become Nigerian Police Service. Yes. Then rebrand and find ways to make the job more appealing to sane people. Better pay, intense training, etc.
- Police recruitment should be thorough starting from intense background checks. When you look at the pictures of most of the SARS officers, they look like criminals. Most of these guys will not pass background checks. Recruitment into the Police must be thorough.
- A lean, mean police force backed by technology. A mass sack should happen and I don’t even blink saying this. Do background checks and fire, jail those who have done criminal stuff. Don’t rush to replace them though. Reorganise the salaries of those you keep. Make the barracks habitable.
- A national introspection beyond SARS and Police. Think about the mindset of any agency in Nigeria. It is mostly to extort. In Lagos, they have LASTMA. Even you hear that name, what comes to mind? Extortion most likely. VIO too. People who check TV and radio license?
There is a fundamental issue with extortion in the country. It has to be addressed. Why the Police one is big is that they have guns and kill. But they are not the only ones who extort.
Canada will keep winning if such a simple thing like leaving your house in the morning as a legitimate citizen requires double reading of Psalm 91 due to SARS.
It is just not right.
We hope something is done beyond the rhetorics of a press release. Remember the VP tried his best in 2018 whilst he was acting President but they scuttled his directive eventually.
Just look at pictures of so called SARS officers and tell me how did we get here.