Scrapping of SARS: Nothing to Celebrate!
There was a groundswell protest against the excesses of SARS. The men and women in SARS have done a good job, but they have also done some terrible things. The protest has just begun. It could snowball into something. We don’t know.
Scrapping of SARS is an afterthought. It has no roots. This is the fourth time in last five years SARS is banned from operating, yet after awhile, they come back with greater impetus. Who powers SARS?
The reality is that SARS is not just about the name or the men and women in the Organization. SARS is a system. It is an organized system that takes care of itself by oppressing the larger members of society. SARS is an organized system of State intimidation, oppression and extortion of money from the helpless citizens.
People should not celebrate scrapping of SARS. The action is simply a half measure. The days ahead are going to be bloody. The level of crime in the society in the coming months may become unimaginable and enbearable. And the reason will be simple. To prove to you that “our presence on the roads” matter.
SARS is a system that feeds itself. By scrapping SARS Government has only taken away from the officers their means of livelihood and economic survival. Make no mistake about this. The officers will regroup, somehow, to take care of themselves. Unless Government gathers these officers, re-train them, and tame them, they have only shifted the problems. Very soon, there will be another clamour to restore SARS or bring in another some group that will enhance public security.
Don’t celebrate scrapping of SARS. What about Police brutality? What happens to that? The men in SARS will still be in the police system. Will their hearts be changed? Will those that ran this viscious system be brought to justice?
There is total systemic failure. There is lack of accountability, not financial accountability, but behavioural accountability. Who holds SARS to account for the reported atrocities they are alleged to have committed against Nigerians?
What about the people that are already locked up in their different concentration camps around the country? What is the fate of those people? Will they be released or kept in detention since there won’t be SARS officers to take them to court as the case maybe?
Don’t celebrate scrapping of SARS because the Government has only taken you out of one problem, without offering you solid hope for security. Don’t jubilate? Be wary of this sudden response to public outcry. Because the response is not grounded in better alternative. The days and months ahead are omnious for public security in Nigeria. The officers will come after you in another form. Their ego is wounded, and they will fight back.
Police brutality is pervasive. It’s going to be more, in vengeance for your outrage. It will be so because there is no effective consequences against such police actions.The system is pathetic. Leadership failure is pervasive. One half measure here, another half measure there. There is no congruency and coherence of policies and actions by Political leaders in dealing with complex national issues.
Don’t just celebrate scrapping of SARS. It’s an interim measure. What is the better alternative? If there were, it ought to have been provided before the scrapping. Right now, there is a vacuum. Because nature abhors vacuum, those that don’t mean well for the society, that have waited for a time like this, will try to fill the vacuum.
The real solutions lies in doing a few things: bring quality leadership into the Police hierarchy, increase the remuneration and condition of service of Police officers, keep up retraining of personnel, divolve much of policing powers to the States.
These are much more sustainable measures to address the current situation. Scrapping of SARS is more of a knee-jack response that will die immediately without any fundamental change in the system. SARS is a well coordinated system that cannot be wished away.
We believe that scrapping SARS without immediate alternative creates a vacuum. This is dangerous for a fragile society like ours.