The Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), an arm of the Nigeria Police Force was founded in 1992 by C.P Midenda.
It was formed to be fearless in its mode of operation. The main purpose of the creation of the outfit was to combat the high rates of armed robberies across the country. But current trends in the country could suggest that the unit which was supposed to be likened to Nigeria’s own CIA as is obtained in the United States of America is gradually outliving its purpose.
Following a trail of widespread complaints by Nigerians and a published report by Amnesty International accusing the outfit of subjecting its detainees to horrific torture in form of ‘hangings’, beatings, shootings, mock executions and extortions, Nigerians began to cry out as regards the overbearing influence of the elite police unit. And so an #EndSARS agitation began on social media.
Nigerians from all walks of life through that medium highlighted their personal ‘not-so-good’ experiences in the hands of the dreaded SARS.
From the various experiences recounted by Nigerians, it is believed that SARS is a common enemy to the people irrespective of their victim’s religion, tribe, political affiliation and status. In fact, it is alleged that a commissioner in Imo State was ‘robbed’ by some members of this unit..
Some Nigerian celebrities were not left out of the outcry against SARS. They shared their experiences and in the same week that the #EndSARS campaign trended, a popular artist Praiz was ‘arrested’. According to his account, he was ‘arrested’ because of the type of car he was driving. The ‘arrest’ prevented him from attending a live performance.
Going by their mode of operation lately, it is pertinent to ask; Is SARS A BLESSING OR A CURSE?
A case whereby innocent people are picked on the streets, picked in front of their houses, because they have smart phones/Laptops/expensive wrist-watches, the type of cars they drive, the way they are dressed and in the process having to part away with large sums of hard earned money to ‘bail’ themselves is no longer acceptable.
Midenda suggested that the controversy surrounding the operations of SARS today will be difficult to resolve unless the unit undergoes some form of drastic re-orientation and become faceless like they used to be. But many Nigerians seem not to be comfortable with reforming the unit, they want it to be scrapped