It was a huge relief for majority of Nigerians a couple of weeks ago when Acting President Prof. Yemi Osinbajo announced the reformation of the dreaded and unarguably the most corrupt unit of the Nigeria Police Force, the Special Anti-Robbery Squad, SARS and Federal Anti-Robbery Squad, FSARS.
The unit that was formed to combat violent armed robbery and kidnapping crimes had over the years turned around to prey on innocent Nigerians even in the midst of some famed successes it recorded.
SARS/FSARS became the Gestapo unit of the Nigeria police with separate laws. In fact, the operatives operated like they were the armed robbers they were empowered to rein in. They robbed, maimed and killed innocent Nigerians with a frightening rate that left many helpless and hopeless until the federal government said it was enough!
Let us take a look at the ‘New Rules Of Engagement’ announced some couple of days by the Police authorities
1. No SARS/FSARS personnel is allowed to interfere in any civil matter.
2. They are not allowed to interfere in cyber crime (yahoo yahoo).
3. No FSARS personnel is allowed to conduct a stop and search exercise unless there is a distress callfrom victims or members of the public.
4. They are not allowed to be involved in commercial matters (debt recovery, landlord vs Tennant issues).
5. They are also not allowed to interfere in any social /relationship cases ( marital matters, boyfriend / girlfriend relationship).6. THEY ARE STRICTLY FOR ARMED ROBBERY AND KIDNAPPING CASES!
NIGERIANS KNOW YOUR RIGHT! AND LET NIGERIA BE GREAT AGAIN. BE BOLD AS A CITIZEN.
Very good rules of engagement, on paper. But the police authorities can go a step further to publish names and mobile numbers of superior officers to reach any time of the day and night, especially in the night, because these guys carry out their nefarious activities mostly at night.
As things stand, a helpless Nigerian has no option than to watch and pray that the ‘new’ SARS turns out to be better than the old one.