In Nigeria, there are too many uniform agencies in the name of Police force, perambulating the society with the cynical notion of securing the nation/environment.
They have turned their primary duty into various forms of intolerable acts against the citizens, and thereby extorting the masses. For instance, as a citizen of the most populous black nation on earth, they have the right to justice and fair treatment, freedom of expression and right to movement, the freedom to question an officer who is on mufti to either show his or her badge to prove that he or she is undercover, or be asked to provide a uniform officer (colleague) come address the civilian on the spot.
There are things that should be working easily, that should be protecting the citizens, rather; they now pose various degree of threat to their lives instead.
There are so many stories, and has made it almost too difficult to know where exactly to begin tackling, however the major challenge stem from the Special Anti-Robbery Squad popular for its acronym – SARS
I have had my own share of the SARS menace. It is high time this harassment stopped. Our voices must be heard. #EndSARS
— MrMeYagi (@lilkeshofficial) December 3, 2017
The situations are similar enough:
A young man may be picked off the street and is accused of being a fraudster (yahoo boy) on the bases that he is well dressed, it really does not matter to them if he is or not, they batter the suspect as tho he’s a slave, if he resists them at all, they slap, punch, head huts and various degree of immediate assault upon a suspect who they have no evidencing prove against, some one they do not know his name.
In most cases the suspect is forced to negotiate his release, and be led to an ATM to withdraw from his bank account, and then it’s goodbye, safe journey, God bless you. Even when the suspect is a fraudster, they are suppose to arrest, schedule a legal hearing and convict this suspect, but they would rather take bribe in the name of bail and leave a fraudster in the street again.
Other times, one is simply abducted, all of a sudden and he’s asked to pay to get bailed. For what?
A case was sometime reported that a young man was shot dead by SARS for refusing to open his phone to them, “why not arrest him, put him before a court and the Judge will order him to open his phone,” rather they turned the Judge and the Jury
When charged for firing a loaded ammunition on a citizen, they would say “he is a criminal in action and the victim attacked them”, they may even leave a weapon with the diseased, after all who speaks for the dead.
Twitter users and victims of their unorthodox painful and barbaric act have been sharing stories of personal experiences, most in line with these and some others scarily worse, detailing how they have been maltreated by SARS unit.
The head of the Nigerian Police Force Public Complaint Rapid Response Unit (PCRRU) Yomi Shogunle shared a tweet on the issue which many have found insensitive.
Eventually, after more complaints, he shared another post detailing ways through which complaints can be made about the SARS unit, releasing their phone numbers for calls, SMS and WhatsApp mesaaging, a BBM Pin, and social media pages (Twitter and Facebook) was released.
— Abayomi Shogunle (@YomiShogunle) December 1, 2017
Come to think of it, how do you lodge a complaint about people who are impossible to identify? People who dress in mufti and have no name tags, whose vehicles have no plate numbers, and does not formalise themselves with either a badge or a personal identification and address?
Nigerians are instead now sharing a link to a petition written to the legislative arm of government asking to have SARS scrapped and the police reformed.
Calling for 2000 signatures, 1639 officials have so far signed the petition.
It would be interesting to see what will eventually happen – if this issue, like many others, will be swept under the rug, or if actions will be taken to protect the masses from the people who have been charged to protect them.