I read with grave concern and displeasure reports on the operatives of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), an arm of the Nigeria Police, and cases of recent and previous instances of brutality and extra-judicial killings. The most recent incident involved a young Nigerian in Ughelli, Delta State on October 3. This incident reportedly typifies the extra-judicial activities of some SARS operatives across the federation.
With the public disapproval that followed it, the Inspector-General of Police, Mr. Mohammed Adamu banned all tactical squads of the Nigeria Police – SARS, Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad (FSARS), Special Tactical Squad (STS), Intelligence Response Team (IRT) and Anti-Cultism Squad, among others.
While the pronouncement of the IGP is commendable, it is not sufficient to guarantee or restore confidence of our youths, and indeed the entire countrymen, in the Nigeria Police and all its tactical squads. However, it is a required step that should be taken and I am happy that this first step has been taken.
Before this incident occurred on October 2 and since I began my campaign for senatorial bye-election in Lagos East, I have identified the security and well-being of our youth population as a cornerstone of my campaign agenda. This resolve stems from a belief that if we must secure the future of Nigeria, our youths must play leading roles across all sectors freely and without fear or trepidation.
Also, this resolve is founded on an indisputable fact that youths constitute a larger component of our populace and we cannot afford to toy with our youths, the future of our dear country.
We are in an age when the use of information and communication technology (ICT) has become part of business operations and daily life. Our youths cannot be left behind. So, harassing any youth because he is carrying a laptop or holding an android phone is unacceptable. It is a practice that must not have a place in our policing or criminal investigation system.
Beyond the IGP’s pronouncement on SARS and FSARS, the time to end all extra-judicial activities by everyone of our security organisations is now. And I am utterly committed to this agenda as a citizen that places high premium on every life, especially our youths on whose shoulders rest the future of our fatherland.
If and when elected, I will use the instruments of lawmaking and legislation to purse comprehensive reforms of our policing system with the focus on changing the mindset of our security operatives. I will also pursue legislation that will make every security officer discharge their duties within the ambit of laws and make them accountable in every public engagement.
In my resolve to ensure the security of our youths irrespective of their beliefs, ethnic nationalities or political affiliations, I will focus on using legislative instruments to restructure police operations; protect our youths from police brutality and ensure the enforcement of their human rights at all times.
In the meantime, I urge the authorities to ensure full accountability for this most recent act of extra-judicial activity and bring all culpable persons to book.