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SARS, Why Are You Killing Us? By Adekunle Adeyemi (Scotty Aluta)

The recent horrific killing of a young Nigerian football player of Remo Stars FC by officers of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad — an arm of the Nigeria Police Force is barbaric. SARS officers have received several condemnations for going after suspected internet fraudsters popularly known as ‘Yahoo Boys’, rather than spending more time to investigate cases of armed robbery which is their constitutional duty.

On no account should any security agency put an end to a common harmless Nigerian life when we have a working but compromised judicial system, suspected criminals are to be investigated and if found wanting, such person should be prosecuted and let the court of competent jurisdiction decide his/her fate. 

SARS has, over the years, earned a notorious reputation of a brutal agency following cases of extrajudicial killings, torture, ill-treatment of detainees, and extortion of suspects. SARS needs an overhaul—not a ban—to check its excesses without trading off an increase in crime and overhauling SARS will require more than a presidential order. 

Nigerians are now living in fear because the fear of SARS is the beginning of wisdom as it is now a prayer point in churches and mosques not to fall victim of SARS operatives. The Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces, President Muhammadu Buhari and the Nigerian Police force decided to turn deaf ears to people’s complaint over the activities of SARS. When Nigerians start resisting and carry out jungle justice on them, I hope they keep the same energy. 

The violations of fundamental human right are even worse in SARS custody. Once grabbed or arrested, suspects are subjected to various degrees of torture in inhumane conditions. The different forms of torture melted on those detained have led to the death of so many young ones who sees themselves as leaders of tomorrow. Yet most of the cases were neither investigated nor were the culprits held responsible for their actions.

During the social media campaign of #ENDSARS, the Inspector-General of Police promised to reform the Special Anti-Robbery Squad. The IGP released a statement on January 21, 2020, stating that the Special Anti-Robbery Squad has been reformed. The Unit is no longer allowed to be involved in stop and search exercise unless there is a distress call from a victim but reverse is the case. Who is deceiving who? 

The Nigerian Police Act outlines duties of the Nigerian police force which include ‘protection of life and property, apprehension of offenders, preservation of law and order and the prevention of crime’,  not going after Internet fraudsters (Yahoo boys) and killing innocent Nigerians.

I join well meaning Nigerians, especially the youth populace to call on the Federal Government and the IGP to look into the menace SARS officials has turned themselves into, we need to put an end to these senseless killings of innocent Nigerians. 

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