Reporter: CHUKWUBUIKE MADU
A cross section of residents of Enugu metropolis has commended the recent dissolution of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad, SARS, by the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu. They made their views known while speaking with Radio Nigeria.
For about one week now, there had been series of nation-wide anti-SARS protests tagged “ENDSARS,” following accusations of arbitrariness and criminality employed by members of the squad in carrying out their duties. The mass action forced the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Mr. Mohammed Adamu to finally dissolve the squad.
In a reaction, some residents of Enugu, Mr. Victor Agu, Precious Ede, Frank Ogbodo and Umezulike Mba, described the dissolution as long overdue saying SARS had outlived its usefulness. Hear them.
Victor Agu: “Dissolving the body called SARS is a wonderful achievement because they will just hear that there is a crime here, they will just come, invade the community, pick people at random, detain them and collect money.”
Precious Edeh: “the dissolution is Okey because SARS no longer do what they were created for.
“If you have problems with your landlord, they will call SARS, if you are owing someone, the person will go and call SARS to handle you. That is not what SARS was created to do.”
Mr. Frank Ogbodo said: “is it SARS that will catch you even at night, they will made you to go to ATM and pull your money. Some have POS and carry it about. If they see any successful young man, they will target the person, name them yahoo boy with out investigation.”
Umezulike Mba: “the dissolution is in line with the people’s yearning, so it is a very good development because SARS, abinitio, was established to tackle armed robbery, kidnapping and other violent crimes but their performance is bad. They use their position to intimidate, harrass and embarrass people.”
The respondents also called for investigation and prosecution of members of SARS accused of criminal and other unlawful acts.
Mr. Frank Ogbodo was more vociferous on this issue.
“They should investigate them because they have committed more crimes than even the real robbers,” Mr. Frank Ogbodo insisted.
“It’s not enough to disband SARS, what happens to those of them people accuse of dispossessing people their money; and those accused of various financial crimes? Will they be tried and imprisoned or be let free to continue steal from people molest them?” Mr. Azubuike Okeogwa queried.
On fears expressed in some quarters that the dissolution of SARS might result in surge in violent crimes, the respondents urged the police authority to rise up to their responsibility of securing lives and property.
“I don’t believe that with the dissolution of SARS that crime rate in this country will increase. It is not true because we know when the SARS were even there, the rate of crime increased,” Mr. Agu stated.
“The crime will not rise became they are going to send them back to the various normal police units, which they were before they (SARS) were created,” Mr. Raymond Obikerie noted.
The people further called for a total overhaul of Police force to end police brutality and ensure that members of SARS would not influence other policemen negatively when integrated into other police formations while they await establishment of a new unit to undertake cases of violent crimes.
Umezulike Mba: “The Police authorities say they will bring another unit that will replace SARS because what we are saying is let it not be new wine in the old keg; let them reform the police entirely and rearrange the system.”
For Ifeanyi Eneagu: “any special squad they are bringing out, they need to retrain them to have human sympathy. Another one is for them to be identified on the road with their name tag and number, then you mandate them to come with police vehicles.
Some of the respondents, including Mr. Victor Agu, suggested the strengthening of local vigilance groups to help stem the tide of crimes in the state.