By Bayo Oluwasanmi
In recent days, SARS has faced unprecedented local and international media attention over several incidents in which many Nigerians have died, tortured, kidnapped, and assaulted by SARS.
In response to the historic defiance of our youths to protest in towns and cities, the Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, said he had set up Special Weapons and Tactics team to replace SARS.
The name SWAT sounds like oxymoron. What is the modus operandi of SWAT? What about special weapons? Will SWAT conduct illegal searches on Nigerians going peacefully about their business? Will SWAT be looking for special weapons imported to the country by Boko Haram and Fulani herdsmen terrorists? What type of tactics and for what? Tactics to kill or maim, or rape, or torture?
The primitive and deaf tone federal government is very creative at replacing one evil with another evil. Remember, when Nigerians rejected cow colony, it was replaced with RUGA. When RUGA collapsed, it was renamed Water Resources Bill. The government believes Nigerians are fools who are incapable of knowing that one evil has been replaced with another evil with a new name. For the government to replace SARS with SWAT is like replacing Satan with Lucifer! SWAT is SARS, SARS is SWAT. Period.
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Police brutality is not new in Nigeria. Nigeria has a history of law enforcement violence. SARS like its parent body – NPF – is the most corrupt police in the world. The NPF is notorious for abuse of power and bribery. It is a systemic problem institutionalized from the very top.
SARS represents impunity, torture, arbitrary arrest, and murder. It is a sad irony that the very people who are constitutionally saddled with the protection and security of citizens, are the same people that kill them with reckless relish. As agents of a repressive and oppressive government, SARS has a reputation of mowing down innocent Nigerians, peaceful protesters demanding for accountability for human rights violation and for good governance.
It’s going to be a “long walk to freedom.” The youth should reject SWAT wholesale. The protest should continue for as long as it takes to extract the possible acceptable option from the government. SARS in whatever form, shape, name or disguise should be proscribed. Until NPF is totally dismantled and until the powers that be replace NPF with local and state police, the youth must not relent. This is the beginning of the much dreaded revolution by the government.