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What to do about Nigeria Police Force’s SARS?

BellaNaija.com

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A wise man once said: Everything in Nigeria is out to kill you.

Maybe not everything, true. But there are just too many instances of things that should be working easily, that should be protecting you, posing a threat to your life instead.

There are so many stories that it’s almost too difficult to know where exactly to begin. Really though, there’s only one place: SARS – the Special Anti-Robbery Squad.

Almost everyone either has a personal encounter, or is friends with someone who does.

The situations are similar enough:

  • A young man is picked up off the road and is accused of being a yahoo boy. That he is or isn’t matters little. He’s roughed up, sometimes a little, most times a lot, slapped, punched, slapped again. He’s forced to negotiate his release, is led to an ATM to withdraw from his bank account, and then it’s goodbye, safe journey, God bless you.
  • A case is reported and of course we’ll help you and almost magically you find yourself an accessory to a crime.

Other times there’s even no point pretending and one is simply abducted all of a sudden and you’re asked to pay to get bailed. For what?

Twitter users have been sharing stories of personal experiences, most in line with these and some others scarily worse.

As the complaints continued to rise, reports filtered in Saturday morning that a SARS operative allegedly shot a young man in the head.

The head of the Nigerian Police Force Public Complaint Rapid Response Unit (PCRRU) Yomi Shogunle shared a tweet on the issue which many have found insensitive.

Eventually, after more complaints, he shared another post detailing ways through which complaints can be made about the SARS unit.

There are phone numbers for calls, SMS and WhatsApp mesaaging, a BBM Pin, and social media pages (Twitter and Facebook)

How though do you lodge a complaint about people who are impossible to identify? People who dress in mufti and have no name tags, whose cars have no plate numbers.

Nigerians are instead now sharing a link to a petition written to the legislative arm of government asking to have SARS scrapped and the police reformed.

Calling for 2000 signatures, 1639 people have so far signed the petition.

It’d be interesting to see what will eventually happen – if this issue, like many others, will be swept under the rug, or if actions will be taken to protect the masses from the people who have been charged to protect them.

17 Comments

  1. Ruby

    December 2, 2017 at 3:26 pm

    Would have been better if you included the link to the petition.

  2. Patty boo

    December 2, 2017 at 4:06 pm

    This is so pathetic, i’m so vexed right now

  3. Innocent idiong

    December 2, 2017 at 4:27 pm

    This is serious… Y Didn’t you included the link to the petition

  4. Bodunade

    December 2, 2017 at 5:09 pm

    These guys have murdered, kidnapped, harvested organs of so many countless souls & accused countless more falsely.
    The fear of SARS is the beginning of wisdom on these streets. Person go dey fear to leave house. My mom keeps calling to remind me to trim my beards for my own safety. I can’t exercise, go out at night etc because I want to be safe.
    Nothing will be done going by past precedents.
    God help us for real.
    Dont argue with these people if they stop you and always go around with your I.D .

    Stay safe people.

  5. Physio Tinu

    December 2, 2017 at 5:40 pm

    They stopped my brother once on his way to nysc camp. Collected 20k from him. The helplessness makes you feel so annoyed and mad. It’s just…weakens you. How about people they have killed for no reason. Brothers fathers sons who have gone out never to return because they were in the wrong place at the wrong time. What is the solution?

  6. I'mJustSayn'

    December 2, 2017 at 7:17 pm

    I have signed the petition. God punish SARS

  7. Kkay

    December 2, 2017 at 7:19 pm

    Nigeria, a country of horrors ….and some claim to be leaders! May God deliver us from this evil nation!

  8. Mrs chidukane

    December 2, 2017 at 8:19 pm

    Ndi ara. Taking people to ATM to forcibly withdraw money for you. Even the ayobami guy’s response shows he’s well aware of what is going on and doesn’t care. Like I said before, any change that doesn’t start with or include men of the Nigerian police is a waste of time.

  9. Lailatu

    December 3, 2017 at 1:04 am

    That poor young man was killed for no reason and no one has been called to answer for it. Why? why ?why? ?

  10. AceOfSpades

    December 3, 2017 at 4:40 am

    Do you know how SARS started?
    When the crime surge in oyo state got so high that the police couldn’t handle it anymore, Gov Lam Adeshina went to the prison and recruited tough cultist and killers that were serving long terms and struck a deal with them. The deal was to recruit them into a special branch of the police force to battle tough criminals and so SARS was born.

    Crime reduced of course but a new monster was born because this people now have license to carry weapons. What do you expect when you put guns in the hands of criminals and they don’t have good pay like every other civil workers? Try and visit Iyanganku in Ibadan and see the way this SARS operatives behave or Panti and Lion Building or Zone 11 in osogbo or Benin (worse set ever ever).

    For you people that think it’s men that they attack, you’ve not seen anything. Let SARS catch a group a guys and some girls are with them, they start fondling and squeezing the girls anyhow but the fear of the guns and all can’t make them talk. Everyone just wants to get home safe and alive.

  11. Ozone

    December 3, 2017 at 6:26 am

    I have had about 3 experiences with these guys. One was in Yaba. I was stopped on my way to Unilag. They were in a danfo. They saw foreign phone numbers on my phone and concluded I am a Yahoo Boy. Despite the number being that of my parents and siblings living abroad. I had a few dollars on me and I had to settle them before they could let me go after spending a few hours in detention.
    Another was in Oshodi. I was carrying a laptop and they asked for its receipt. I was shocked as who carries the receipt of their gadgets around. I eventually had to settle them before they let me go after spending a few hours in detention.
    The last one was in Isolo. I just started a new job and was assigned an official laptop. I was stopped for the receipt and explained that it is an official laptop. I was taken to the police station. After a few hours, I told them to let me go so that I can contact my employer at that time. The next day, in company of my line manager and our legal representative, we went to the police station and the laptop was released.

    These are the important questions that need answers:
    1. Is it a Requirement by law that we go about with receipts of our electronic gadgets? It will really help if we have a position on these things.
    2. Why are SARS officials mostly not in uniform and no ID but with guns? Do we have the right to request for their IDs?
    3. Why do they hide in danfo? How do you identify a SARS official because some of them are criminals claiming to be SARS official.
    4. Do they have the right to search us without any warrant? Why will they search our pockets, wallets and gadgets?

    We need to reform all arms of Law Enforcement.

    Thank you

  12. Constanza

    December 3, 2017 at 6:55 am

    Nigerian Police Force needs an urgent total reform. So many bad eggs among them and so many terrible stories of them preying on the citizens they are supposed to protect. And when they carry out their evil acts, little or nothing is done to address it, so the impunity continues. Very sad.

  13. NigeriaGoBeta

    December 3, 2017 at 9:17 am

    I wonder why comments are not flowing on this post. This is the kind of post that should be brimming with comments from concerned Nigerians. Can we as a country for once show a collective sense of concern for things that actually matter. Why do we expend so much energy on soft things and the weightier things are glossed over yet we are full of suffering. Why!!!

    Bella Naija, I beg of you, can you please pin this article on your homepage let it be recurring to keep the awareness on so that all that visit BN can read it and help put pressure on the government in power and the Nigeria Police Force to do something about this so called SARS. The opposition can also leverage on this madness to persuade us to vote them.

    I have been a victim of Nigerian police extortion and it is not something you want to wish on your enemies. It is nothing but terrorism. The psychological trauma takes a heavy toll on you and it creates fear, resentment and hatefulness towards law enforcers. Also this runaway mindset in most Nigerians finds ventilation with such experience.

    Please let us populate this post to show that we are not circus animals only fit for being used and stripped of its essence and dignity. Don’t let SARS demean you or member of your family before you feel concerned. These people called SARS are not human and are psychologically unfit to work for the Nigerian Police.

    BN please include the petition link and help this cause. Thank you

  14. Victor Adegoke

    December 3, 2017 at 2:31 pm

    May God help us in this Country. Amen.

  15. Afolabi mayowa

    December 3, 2017 at 11:22 pm

    it’s all happened when I was on my way home one sunny afternoon on a bike immediately I heard a man shouting at as come here “you must be mad ” for what he then told me to come down searched my bag and found nothing suspicious until he found a cream and he was like you are bleaching I smiled because I was shocked at gun point he told me to enter the van and they moved immediately after showing him my details and Id card they then stopped near a bush then requested me to pay 30k for Wat for seeing a cream in my bag??? they were like he won’t talk enter car I was taken to ijebu igbo where I was dropped had to get a bike from there to ago which I spent extra please this being are constituting nuisance in the country

  16. Bee

    December 4, 2017 at 1:43 pm

    This is too sad, i always call my brother everyday just to be sure he hasnt been taken by SARS after one day he went on an errand for me and my spirit was just worried, i called for hours scared and worried only for him to get home and say he was detained because he had an iphone and he looked like a butty child so he should have some money to give them. Boy i gave 1k to quickly rush to ojuelegba for me. He said he had to withdraw 8k in his account. i was just glad he got home safe, what will i have told my widow mom? God help us its out of hand already.

  17. #saynotoSARScruealty

    December 5, 2017 at 3:49 am

    You can complain a million times to PCRRU but you will never hear a thing from them. They will tell you it will be treated in strict confidentiality and dump your case to the nearest refuse bin. I submitted a complain on my encounter with them when a business partner (who is in good rapport with them) throw me to them concerning a normal financial transaction. Without even considering my part of the story, I was manhandled for days and estorted 1.5million and bailed on 300k (excluding minor tips of 15k for statement, 4k for staying in their cell etc) by these operatives but nothing was done thereafter. The funny part of it is some of them still call me to ask for money when they are broke. One of them even called to tell me he wasn’t given anything out of the money they shared so i should pls send his own. Till today i’m still wondering the term “public complain RAPID RESPONSE unit” they use in that medium created to fool Nigerians. This is how rotten the system is. I later realised i have been stupid enough to complain to a system that created them, reporting police to another police. Let’s just be prayerful for God’s protection but we live in a country where complain/petition/report levelled against them will go down the drain no matter how innocent you are. That’s why sometimes i don’t blame some Nigerians who travel to other safer countries.

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