By Ebele Orakpo
The Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Abubakar Adamu last week, banned the Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad, FSARS and other tactical squads including the Special Tactical Squad, STS and the Intelligence Response Team, IRT.
Since the ban, there have been nationwide protests asking the Police authorities to bring FSARS to an end completely. The #EndSARS protests took another dimension as the protesters were accused of being sponsored by Yahoo boys or online fraudsters while a new group of protesters have emerged to counter the #EndSARS group. Just yesterday, the Police boss finally announced the disbandment of SARS.
In a chat with Vanguard, a security expert, former US Marine and the Assistant Vice-President, Security and Safety Operations, American University of Nigeria, Yola, Dr. Lionel VonFrederick Rawlins praised the Police authorities for taking action but said it should not end there. They should come up with solutions rather than just getting rid of SARS otherwise, it might put the nation in a worse situation.
“When things happen like that, we tend to over react and forget the common good that is supposed to be there for us. For example, should we because of few bad eggs doing bad and illegal things stop the tactical squads from operating in Adamawa State?
That is an overreaction or knee-jerk reaction. It might put us back in a bad situation. The bad people, bandits and even the terrorists are afraid of SARS. I am not in support of SARS going about doing illegal things and killing people at all. You have no right to kill someone because he is a bandit, a Yahoo boy, a rapist or criminal. No, you don’t do that. Everyone deserves a fair trial and any civil society would tell you the same thing. You can’t just arrest a suspect and shoot him,” said Rawlins.
He noted that FSARS was formed to deal with kidnapping, banditry, robbery and other violent crimes and if they are taken off the streets, the people will be in a bad situation because there will be nobody to protect and defend them. He blamed some few bad eggs in FSARS for giving the entire unit a bad name. He said: “It’s the rogue FSARS officers who created these situations that gave the entire SARS officers who are really trying their best, a bad name.
“When anything goes wrong, you have to stop, reassess and clean up the situation. This is where training comes in,” he stated, adding that the most important solution is proper training.
“You cannot take a policeman just because he is a policeman and send him to work in SARS Unit. No! It doesn’t work that way. You need men who can think on their feet, men with sound minds and composure so that they do not overreact in the course of carrying out their duties and men who have been trained in human rights abuse. You can’t send a man who has a bad temper and can’t control himself to the SARS Unit. The SARS Unit is for professionals, men who know how to carry themselves and who have respect for the law.
“I hope that they are able to resolve the issue so that the SARS can go back to their job or we will be in trouble sooner or later,” Rawlins said.