The Coalition of South East Youth Leaders, COSEYL, has asked the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu to jettison the call for the disbandment of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad, SARS.
Many Nigerians have stormed the streets demanding for the end of the operations and activities of SARS in the country.
Having followed the events, COSELY through Hon. Goodluck Ibem, the group’s President General and Comrade Kanice Igwe, Secretary General said: “While the coalition is convinced that indeed there are grey areas that need improvement regarding conducts of SARS operatives, the fact that there are some good and upright operatives within the rank of SARS cannot be wished away. This is however without prejudice to any person or group that may have been affected by the activities of the bad elements in the unit.
“Aware that there have been reported cases of rights abuses by international organizations like Amnesty International against SARS the coalition is of the conviction that SARS for some years within the South-East geopolitical zone has been able to combat criminality ranging from kidnapping, robbery and heist. The truth (though bitter) is that SARS presence curbed in the region and states therein crimes related with the above listed.
“While as a coalition we believe that such activities like wrong profiling of citizens for wearing dreadlock, tattoos, beard or any form of dressing is totally wrong and against Chapter 4 of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended, the best for SARS in a time like this is total reform. The campaign to end or scrap SARS has followed certain reported deaths and brutalities as seen perpetrated by men and officials of SARS, it could be wrong, the coalition believes, entirely to throw the child away with the bath water.
“The coalition calls for reform that allows for training and retraining of men of SARS along the lines of respect for rights of citizens of South-East and Nigeria. Here, massive Civic and citizenship education is needed. This will help the operatives of the unit see themselves as those working for the security and peace of the citizens rather than those who have unquestionable powers to abuse citizens. There is the growing need to therefore surbodinate SARS to the citizens beginning from recruitment and promotion. Competence should be the basis of reward and promotion than who-knows-who.
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“Though many bad eggs officer today, what we know as SARS, there’s no gainsaying that men of good conduct still are within the rank of SARS. The coalition recalls, for example S.P. Johnbull Obioguru, the SARS commander for Abia State. Under his watch, most of the erring officials have had to be disciplined on account of unprofessionalism or unprofessional conduct. His achievements is boldly written on the wall and its pronounced. Though more still needs to be done, the level of crime and criminality in Abia has been reduced to a commendable rate enhancing thus peace relatively within the state.
“The coalition wishes to throw its weight and support behind the National Assembly for prosecutorial trial of any erring officials of the special unit or branch of the police force. Again, it is apt to state that SARS officials attached to any regular police facilities must conduct themselves as part and parcel of the police force not as some unquestionable formation.
“Recently as structured, the Nigerian Police is overstretched and cannot meet the UN’s prescription of one-to-four hundred police-citizens ratio, it makes no sense whatever to scrap or end the operation of some of this already thin force for over a hundred and eighty citizens.
“Having observed these and more, it is better to amend than end SARS. The solution lies in prosecuting any erring Officer than generally make good officers guilty as is not supposed to be.”