Editorial: Disbanded SARS operatives must undergo psychiatrics evaluation

As President Buhari maintained his culture of silence following the #endsars campaigns all over the country, the Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu yielded to public yearnings on Sunday and disbanded the murderous Special Anti-Robbery Squad. Whether the public directives by the IGP will be carried out and the unit scrapped will be seen in the coming days.

SARS, by all its doings, has bagged for itself, the notoriety and penchant for killing and maiming young Nigerians for decades for the mere facts that they are alive. These crimes committed in police uniforms and the quest for investigation and justice have always been ignored by the police command and the government in general, hence the squad carried out its activities with gusto. Technology has made it easier for their criminal activities to be seen not just by Nigerians but by the rest of the world. Their latest activity in Ughelli, Delta State two weeks ago where a man was allegedly shot and his Lexus SUV stolen would become the nail in their coffin.

Questions have been asked as to whether top police officers benefit from the criminal activities of these murderous officers; if they get remittance from these officers who hunt young Nigerians day and night to extort or kill those who refused to pay, the reason they allowed the unit to turn into that which it was set up to eradicate. While hundreds of Nigerians are killed every year by SARS operatives and other trigger-happy officers, a few of these killer-officers are standing trial for their crimes. This and others are the reasons the youths have decided to say NO to being hunted like wild animals and killed in their own country by police officers employed with task payers’ money to protect them.

The young people who filed out on the streets have had enough of the killings, the maimings, the fears of being victimised for looking successful, for dressing the way they liked and for being alive. They are not asking the government for stable electricity or good health facility like their peers in the rest of the world but a chance to be alive. But with the success that they have recorded and the international embarrassment their agitations for the scrapping of the killer-police unit has brought the Nigerian government, they have now understood the power that they have and henceforth will demand more.

Every attempt employed by the Buhari’s government to break the protest came to nought. Instead, the protests united Nigerian youths across political and ethnic divides. It didn’t matter if you were a Christian or a Muslim, and this understanding that religious and ethnic affiliation does not matter in issues of bad governance is the greatest fear the Nigerian ruling class has. The idle hands that Buhari’s terrible and inhumane economic policies created will become his doom.

The decision of the IGP to transfer thousands of men of SARS into other units without first undergoing compulsory psychiatric and psychological evaluations will only make them pollute those police units and create a room for them to embark on their illegal activities afresh. Those disbanded men and women of SARS must be reformed and re-oriented before they’re transferred into the everyday police units.

Make no mistakes about it, police brutalities will not end in Nigeria unless the police are reformed from head to toe, that is, from the IGP to the least ranked officer. The reforms will include paying police officers enough, making their barracks look like where humans and not animals live, and ensuring those police units have enough money for their operations, including investigations and routine patrol. Therefore, the end is not in sight of instances where police officers snuff life out of the citizens without repercussion.

The future belongs to the youths and only they can save Nigeria. SARS MUST GO