Sylvanus Viashima, Jalingo
Following protests in parts of the country for the scraping of the Special Anti Robbery Squad (SARS), the Emir of Muri Emirate in Taraba state HRH Chief Abbas Tafida on Sunday called on the Federal government to look inwards and bring in reforms that would sanitize and strengthen the unit rather than scraping it as agitated by others.
The first Class Chief who spoke among a cross section of critical stakeholders who lend their voice to the ongoing protests against the unit said that the good work and intentions behind the establishment of the unit can not be taken for granted, even as it was obvious that some unscrupulous elements in the unit seem to be power drunk.
“We can not say because the SARS are dealing badly with people, then they should be completely scraped. Are the armed robbers and other criminal elements dealing with people better? At time you have to take extrajudicial measures to extract correct information. Rather than agitating for the scraping of the unit, reformation would be a more better option. I will willingly join any committee that is set up to critically look into the issues raised against the SARS in a bid to give the government sound recommendation on how to best reposition the unit for more efficient and professional performance” he said.
Similarly, the Doctor Joseph Gimbiya, the state Chairman of civil societies in Taraba has said that operatives of the SARS unit need regular psychological evaluation and testing for drugs and other substance abuse to ensure that they are in the right frame of mind to carry out their all important tasks of ridding the nation of criminals.
Gimbiya insisted that rather than scrap the unit and integrate the men into the main stream police, the officers should be subjected to set standards and those found to have fallen short of such standards should be made to face the full wrath of the law in public glare to serve as deterent to others.
In the same vein, the leaders of Igbo and Yoruba communities in Taraba state on Sunday called on the Federal government to take the calls for the scraping of the SARS unit of the Nigerian police as a wake up call to streamline the operations of the unit and ensure that the operatives selected to work under the unit are of the highest physical, mental and professional standings.
Meanwhile, the state Chairman of Nigerian Youth Council of Nigeria Comrade Udi M. Adamu has called for a total reformation of the SARS unit including their way of dressing and lines of duty.
Adamu said that “most operatives of the unit dress so rough that they are easily mistaken for bandits and other criminal elements while the manner in which they treat people is most humiliating and unbecoming of law enforcement agents”.
Also speaking, the chairperson of National Council of Women Societies in Taraba state Mrs Daniel Atanji said that the women in the state “would not be party to calls for the ending of SARS but would rather advocate for training and retraining of officers of the unit and other security agencies so that they carry out their responsibilities with the highest professional standards and respect for the rights of citizens. As it is now, it is not even out of place to allege that their are some criminal elements who have had it tough with the SARS operatives and are instigating these protests so that they can enjoy their criminal ventures. Mind you that even if they are scarped, the same men will simply go back to their normal police routine and would still have the capacity to do just as much damage as they are accused of now. So reformation of the unit remains the best option”.
Our correspondent reports that the SARS in Taraba state have made over eighty six arrests in the last one year including armed robbers and kidnappers and have recovered over twenty arms and 105 live ammunition among other successes.