A group of youth organisations in Kano on Wednesday staged a peaceful protest for the reformation of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), insisting it is a better option than outright dissolution.
The leader of the movement, Khalid Sunusi Kani, who is also the national coordinator of Coalition of Youth Groups, urged the state government to appeal to President Muhammadu Buhari to reform the police institution.
The state governor, Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, commended the decision of the Nigeria Police to replace SARS with the Special Weapons and Tactics Team (SWAT). “It is a good response from the protesters for not condemning SARS. However, the replacement with SWAT is a good action,” he said while addressing the crowd.
Kani suggested that SARS was able to curb crimes in some parts of the country and said adequate funding of the police by the Federal Government would reduce the rates of abuse.
He further noted that the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Muhammad Abubakar, also announced the dissolution of SARS with a promise to undertake a sweeping reform in the force.
“After consultations, in-depth analysis, and scrutiny, we overwhelmingly and unanimously subscribed to the philosophy, wisdom, and ideology behind setting up SWAT,” he added.
“For this, we commend President Muhammadu Buhari and the IGP for the prompt response as well the gallant effort of Nigerians, particularly the youth, for voicing genuine concerns for a better policing orientation in the country.
“It is equally our prayer that adequate synergy between the Nigerian Police Force and other security agencies be reestablished for prompt arrest of security challenges ranging from kidnapping, insurgency, banditry, and other insecurity menace.”
Following widespread demonstrations across the country that started on Thursday, September 8, the police formed a new tactical unit, SWAT, which it said would respond to robbery attacks, embark on rescue operations as well as other special operations involving high-profile criminals. Operatives of the team, the police said, would be trained between October 18 and November 7, and would not be drafted from the defunct SARS.
Peaceful demonstrations have, however, continued to be held daily as the protesters insist many of the demands have yet to be met, including the prosecution of erring officers and compensation of past victims of SARS brutality.