President Muhamnadu Buhari and the Inspector General of Police, Muhammed Adamu have been called upon to go beyond dissolving of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) by overhauling the police system.
The former governorship candidate on the platform of the Labour Party, Mr. Babatunde Loye made the call in Ado-Ekiti, the Ekiti State capital on Wednesdaywhile addressing journalists.
Loye said there is urgent need for the government to undertake holistic reform of the police institution, saying this will help put an end to extra-judicial killings, extortion, engender professionalism and restore public confidence in the police.
He lamented that many Nigerian youths have been killed and physical assaulted due to the unprofessionalism of some triggered-happy police officers.
“I am against the killing of any Nigerian most especially our youth as they are the present and the future of our country. It is not acceptable and the Police must do better. Our youth must be empowered to take over the mantle of authority and leadership from the older generation. Enough is enough. We need to end this killing now. My condolences to all the families across Nigeria who have lost their loved ones before and during this period at the hands of the police.”
He described the response of the Federal Government to the #EndSARS protest as prompt and commendable, saying with the courageous decision to dissolve the police unit, the President has shown that his administration is responsive to the feelings of the people.
Loye called on the IGP to investigate all cases of brutality by the disbanded SARS operatives and ensure officers fingered in the killing of the innocent people are made to face the full weight of justice.
He said it was sad that the defunct SARS which was created with the intentions to tackle armed-robbery, kidnapping and all other forms of crimes had morphed into a inhuman police unit allegedly notorious for unleashing terror on the citizenry.
He charged the IGP to ensure that the new unit, Special Weapons and Tactics Team set up to replace the defunct SARS are restricted to its core mandate which was prevention of crimes and conduct their operation in strict adherence to the rule of law.
He suggested that the operatives of the disbanded SARS must be subjected to psychological evaluation and re-training before they would be reintegrated and redeployed to the new police unit.
Loye, however, demanded the immediate review and increase in salaries and welfare packages of the police across the ranks, saying the initiative would boost their morale and deter them from taking solace in corrupt practices and unwholesome acts.
“Disbanding the SARS is a welcome move but not the full solution. The solution is to create a reformed police workforce with a better welfare and remuneration package during and after service. The salary of Sergent is N60,000 per month. How will that be enough for a police officer who has family to feed in the current economic climate?”
“The salaries of the police force has to be increased and Barracks have to be rebuilt and let the family of our officers live reasonably comfortable. We must fight to bring about the above reforms for the right change to happen in Nigeria.
“We need to take good care of someone that is risking his or her life for the nation”, he said.