1. #EndSARS. I have followed this advocacy for a long time but I have not joined – and that is the basis for this short note: Ending SARS (really FSARS) will solve nothing. Now, let’s hop.
2. The name is Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad (FSARS), but the public has long contracted it to SARS.
3. SARS personnel are themselves members of the Nigeria Police Force.
4. If you #EndSARS, you are shutting down a squad or better still a department of the police force, but not the operations or orientation of its personnel. They are yet policemen and will carry out their duties, but without the SARS tag. Or are the #EndSARS advocates calling for the abolishing of the squad and the sacking of all its personnel? I hope not, for it will make no sense.
5. There is nothing wrong with SARS. The problem is the orientation of its personnel, which has fostered a ghastly public image.
6. SARS personnel have given the public more than enough evidence that they are untrained or badly trained. You find them in torn jeans and black t-shirts, reeking of alcohol, pompous and unfriendly, with a well documented contempt for rich young people. For the most part, the only difference the public has been able to observe between SARS personnel and armed thugs is in the former’s badge, which, by the way, is not often displayed.
7. So, #ReformSARS. That is what is truly needed. Reform. Some SARS personnel are no better than thugs in uniform – if jeans and t-shirts pass for uniform – uncouth crooks with no sense of purpose, no sense of decency, and no care whatsoever for the letters of rectitude. Or for human life.
8. Right now, SARS is what it is: a bush. But within its thickets there a certainly flowers. Get a shovel. Dig out the weeds. Water the flowers… and see the public help with the watering. 9. When a child is headstrong and irritatingly out of control, do you put a revolver to its heart and end its life? No. You administer discipline. That is what we need here. 10. So, repeat, #ReformSARS
Mr. Yomi Shogunle’s Error
Lagos State commissioner of police Mr. Yomi Shogunle made a grievous mistake by asking on Twitter for 186 million retweets to end SARS. It was imprudent of him to have said so. Irreverent too. To ask for 186 million retweets to adjudicate an issue that has provoked public repugnance, and almost on the verge of provoking public unrest, is a joke on the police commissioner and the police force itself.