Hyacinth Chinweuba/Agency Report
Concerned professionals have kicked against calls for the scrapping of the Special Anti Robbery Squad SARS, as such action will create opportunities for criminals to unleash terror in the country.
Rather, they want government and the police authority to provide world class training for operatives instead of disbanding the Unit as being agitated in some quarters.
Some lawyers spoke following recent killings of innocent Nigerians by conventional policemen who are not SARS operatives which was one of the alleged reasons for the call to disband SARS.
Barrister Agnegbodo Bartholomew, a Lagos based lawyer said “I am for SARS reform. SARS reform in the sense that most of the killings ascribed to SARS of recent are not done by SARS operatives.
Nigerians mistake all policemen in other formations for SARS. One thing that is glaring is that, there are provisions within the Police Act and our Criminal Code to take care of any policeman that misbehaved and those who take the life of innocent Nigerians.You would notice that since the agitation to scrap SARS began, there has been unprecedented rise in crime.
“Nigerians get attacks by robbers during traffic hours. Also, the incident of car snatching in Lagos State, breaking of motorists glasses, kidnapping have returned” he said.
Speaking further, Barr. Bartholomew said “My own opinion is, will you throw away the bath water and the baby? If there’s a few bad eggs within SARS giving SARS a bad name, the police should use internal mechanism to fish them out and carry out a reorientation for serving officer.
The re-orientation to uphold the civil norms in policing should be encouraged. There should be constant retraining on the use of fire arms to avoid the incident of extra judicial killing in the cause of operation. As regard their functions, we can not shut our eyes to the over bearing functions of men of the SARS.
Another lawyer cum Security Expert, who is the Chief Executive Officer of Concentric Security, Barr. Amali Adoya Amali said the entire Nigeria police Force need to undergo reform.
“I will not advocate for the scrapping of SARS”
Killing of innocent Nigerians is a general police problem. Look at the killing of the football fan in Lagos, that was not done by SARS. Also, the killing of the Civil Defence officer Jombo in Abuja recently, that was not also done by SARS.
There has been sanity in SARS since the reform. They should focus on robbery and there is need for continued training and retraining of all the policemen”.
Speaking further, on the issue of stopping armed robbery, Barr. Bartholomew said,” The fear of SARS in every environment where there are bad eggs speaks volume to security of lives in that environment, while the normal criminal does not bother themselves with the regular police men, once they hear that SARS are coming, that apprehension create a sense of security within.
Their absence that we have seen in the last few months even when they were made to return to their bases has worsen the insecurity of lives, it is not far fetched that those who one way or the other are beneficiary of the rising crime, or have skeleton in their cupboard, are those calling for scraping of SARS”.
Another businessman, Mr. Rapheal said, “We can not overemphasize the importance of SARS in reducing crime. Government should reform the outfit not scrap it”
A senior police officer who requested anonimity said “the recent police killings in Lagos reveal that non of these killings is by SARS operatives but some members of the society attribute all police bad behaviours to SARS. SARS opeatives are well behaved now and they are doing well.
You will be amazed at the caliber of guns recovered from miscreanst, thugs and robbers in our society. Presently, SARS is one of the police securit outfit who has the heart to withstand the heat of any form of violence or criminal activities like robbery, kidnapping and any other hard crime you can think about. One can take Lagos as case study, due to the firm stand of SARS Lagos became a “no go area” for robbers.
He concluded by saying, it is good to encourage who is doing good instead of condemning them to give the bad element grace to strive in our society.
It was generally concluded that SARS men are doing a good job in keeping crime at it’s lowest but there is need to be a form of reorientation among officers in doing job.
“As in the mass call for the scrab or disband of SARS, those who have genuine cases to make should come out in a public debate and let’s know who and who other than massing themselves under the tires of human right activism” Barrister Bartholomew concluded.