Nigerians have disagreed with the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Muhammed Adamu over his directive to ban personnel of Tactical Squad from performing certain low-risk operations including mounting roadblocks, stop and search duties etc.
Following a sustained campaign against the brutality of the FSARS on Twitter, Nigerians called for total disbandment of the Squad and initiation of a genuine restructuring of the Police Force.
In a swift response to the ban, Nigerians quickly reminded the IGP that he and his predecessors had issued such statements banning FSARS from same duties since 2017 without any adherence to the order by the affected personnel.
While Nigerians have again taken to the social media to vent their anger, prominent voices in the entertainment industry had joined in the protest. Azeez Fashola also is known as Nairamarley tweeted that Nigerians need to start protesting in real life and not just on Tweeter. we need to stop protesting on twitter because that’s all we’ve been doing, We need to protest in real life, that way they will take us seriously and know we mean it
On Sunday Omoyele Sowore, publisher of Sahara Reporters and a former Presidential candidate responded to Fashola expressing delight at his decision to hit the streets in protest. “#Revolutionnow movement doesn’t protest on twitter.
We put our boots on the ground. On #October1stProtest, our fighters took over the streets globally. It is encouraging to hear you are ready for direct action another artist,
Ayodeji Balogun also called Wizkid took on President Muhammadu Buhari and Lagos state governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu in series of tweets to protest the brutality of the FSARS against Nigerian youths.
In response to a tweet from President Buhari wishing United States President, Donald Trump, “quick and full recovery from Covid-19” he said: “ Donald Trump is not your business! Old man! Police/Sarz still killing Nigerian youth on a daily! Do something! Nothing concern u for America! Face your country!”
Popular evangelist, Apostle Johnson Suleman also lent his voice to end the brutality against Nigerian youths. “ SARS should be proscribed.. they are a disgrace to the police force…they are ‘worst’ than the criminals they claim to be against.. their (sic) trigger-happy nature have rendered mothers childless, sent youths on premature extinction, wasted destinies, they will reap what they sow blamed Nigerian leaders:
“The old have failed in leadership …now the youths are been killed by SARS and their salaries are paid by these same failed old leaders.. so indirectly, the old are killing the young.”
A former aide to President Goodluck Jonathan and motivational speaker, Reno Omokri also called for a total end to SARS. “ Wake up from your slumber. Nigerians voted 900 million times for #BBNaija. Come on!
We can vote 1 billion timed for #EndSARS. Don’t be fooled by General Buhari’s gimmick of banning them from patrols. It won’t work. We are not saying REFORM SARS. We are saying DEFORM SARS,
Some of the protesters said, SARS has gone beyond its brief of tackling armed robbery but has transformed to an army of terror against the very citizens it is paid to protect.
Amnesty International has documented at least 82 cases of torture, ill-treatment and extrajudicial executions by SARS since 2016.
AI reported 58 cases of suspects who were tortured while in SARS custody. Victims included Kolade Johnson, 36, who was shot at a viewing centre in Lagos; Hadiyat Sikiru, 18, Linda Igwetu, an NYSC member, Ademola Moshood, a commercial motorcyclist who refused to part with an N200 bribe and Anita Akapson, an Abuja-based woman.
For SARS officers, it is a crime for youths to look good, to carry Smartphones, laptops, tech devices or ride cars. On this pretext, they are subjected to gross human rights violations.
In February, SARS officers brutally murdered a Remo Stars FC footballer, Tiamiyu Kazeem, on the Sagamu-Abeokuta Expressway.
As a result, it is difficult for the public to trust the police and the Buhari regime whenever they declare their intention to reform the force.
On at least three occasions, the incumbent IG and his predecessors announced such hollow reforms. In August 2015, the then IG, Solomon Arase, ordered that SARS be split into two units – investigation and operations – following public outcry over the cruelty of its officers. It did not work.
In December 2017, Ibrahim Idris, who succeeded Arase, perfunctorily embarked on another reform. This was instigated by persistent violations by SARS officers, which culminated in the #EndSARS movement.
Thus, in August 2018, Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo ordered Idris to “overhaul SARS.” The VP mandated SARS personnel to wear uniforms and nametags.
Buhari followed this up with his own directive that same year to reform the squad. In January 2019, just as he assumed office, Adamu ordered the immediate decentralisation of SARS operations. Nothing worked.
Buhari set up an eight-man panel to carry out “a total overhaul of SARS” in 2019. The panel reportedly received 113 petitions and 23 memoranda from the public. In the end, it recommended the dismissal of 37 SARS officers and the prosecution of 24 others. AI says there is no evidence of the implementation of the report. Earlier in 2010, then President, Goodluck Jonathan, had made the same cosmetic moves, earmarking $196 million for police reform. banning is not enough as Nigerians demand.