Piqued by the glaring, worrisome and disturbing upsurge in crime nationwide, the Police hierarchy many years ago, set up the now famous Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) with the sole aim of dealing ruthlessly with crimes and perpetrators particularly armed robbery, kidnapping and other ancillary criminal breaches of the law.
Headed by a Commissioner of Police, the outfit was set up in all the states of the federation. This gesture of the Police was loudly received by the citizenry because it sort of stemmed crimes in all ramifications and reduced crimes to a barest minimum.
But the success the outfit recorded and the support of Nigerians for the squad gotten into the heads of the operatives and they started to derail. They began to adopt a Boko Haramic-style in their operations. Remember the now famous killing in cold blood of six traders purportedly tagged armed robbers largely referred to as Apo Six. Of the culprits linked to this dastardly act, five had been dealt with while the officer who ordered the mind-boggling killings is still roaming the streets unperturbed and conscienceless.
This is just one out of many cases of brutality being carried out by SARS over the years. Unable to bear the incessant carnage by operatives of SARS any longer nationwide, Nigerians took to the streets recently in Abuja and other states of the federation displaying their angst against the outfit and its operatives. They called on the Inspector-General of Police, Ibrahim Idris to immediately scrap the now infamous outfit, dismantle it completely.
Idris’ response was spontaneous saying SARS instead of being scrapped completely would be totally reorganized and rejuvenated for optimum service.
No matter what happens, Nigerians still need SARS to checkmate crimes. A Yoruba adage says “Cutting the head off is not a solution or remedy for head ache.” This will be just a case of throwing the baby away with the bath tub. Given the volatility and desperation of Nigerians to perpetration of crimes, it will be one step forward and five backwards if the Inspector-General should hearken to the citizens’ vociferous and risky calls to scrap SARS especially now that the year is running to an end. In any case, the fear of SARS is the beginning of wisdom for would-be desperadoes. If by commission or omission, SARS is eventually dismantled by the Police, they (Police) would live to regret their action for a very long time to come.
We urge the Inspector General of Police Ibrahim Idris to beam his blinding searchlight on SARS and its operatives by off-loading excess baggage in the system. It is because SARS is around that lawbreakers reduce in number because of the fear of the unknown, without it, the Police would have much to contend with in terms of crime detection and prevention.
We finally appeal to Nigerians to end their protests against SARS and wait calmly for the results of the IGP’s ‘surgery’ which hopefully would produce a rejuvenated and humane SARS Nigerians expect. There is no gainsaying the fact the country needs SARS at any point in time given the proliferation of crimes in the land. It will curtail crimes remarkably while urging the operatives to turn a new leaf in their operations and don the toga of meekness, humility towards the citizens of the country. They should always not see themselves as enemies of the populace or army of occupation because they are paid from the citizens’ money.
We say NO to scrap of SARS. Scrapping of SARS is tantamount to giving evil doers in our society a free reign and a blank cheque thus putting the lives of the citizens on the line. They would always operate freely without let or hindrance which would be counter-productive and has a multiplier effect on the Police and the populace.