Security experts have argued that the scrapping of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) by the Federal Government is not the solution to the nation’s security problems and called for functional decentralization of the Nigeria Police Force to meet current security and structural realities.
They warned that the current protests by millions of youths across the country, which have run for almost two weeks, if not carefully handled, they are capable of leading to revolution, as was the case in Mali, France and even the United States of America.
The duo of Chief Donald Iroham, a retired Deputy Inspector General of Police; and Prince Dennis Amachree, a retired Assistant Director of the of the Department of State Services (DSS), in separate interviews, said the crux of the matter is unemployment and nepotism.
In particular, Amachree said: “The #EndSARS protesters have moved away from just the unprofessional activities of SARS to calling for good governance, the need to address unemployment and nepotism. “Most of these people on the streets are unemployed graduates in a country like Nigeria.
They cannot comprehend why an uneducated man who manipulated his way into politics, say House of Representatives of the State Assembly goes home with N9 million every month, and these guys know them. “If we don’t take care of these problems, the youths of this country will rise and give us a problem we will not be able to solve, and I think we are getting towards that.
This is because when a protest lasts for a long time, it will metamorphose into a revolution. “It has happened in Mali; it has happened in France and so many countries, except we are not ready to read about history.
Because if we read about the history of protests even in the United States, protests grow into riots and from riots it moves to the level of revolution. Right now, the government is handling it properly by sending policemen to protect the people.”
Amachree, who has been at the forefront of the call for the creation of SWAT in the Nigeria Police, added that he expected that when they scrapped SARS, it would look at the operational modalities of SWAT before making the announcement.
“You see, SWAT is Special Weapons and Tactics, now the problem is does the Nigeria Police have such weapons that SWAT is supposed to use? Do they have the tactics? Who is training them?
This is because they are supposed to be given special training for the job and you cannot return members of the defunct SARS into the Police after carrying out psychological tests on them. “How do you fund them? This is important because they are unlike current policemen who would operate as SARS today and get back at the road block tomorrow to survive. SWAT is not a bad idea, but it should be entirely different from SARS.
The former are trained for counter-terrorism, fight banditry and insurgency.” He added that the President had identified the gargantuan nature of the problem when he said state governors should address the issues, because he has done the best. “Where are the governors? Where are the local government chairmen? Where are the legislators?” he asked. On his part, Iroham said that the Nigeria structure is defective and over-centralised because some people want to control things like security from Abuja and it does not work that way.
“That is why there is uprising everywhere. Restructure Nigeria and automatically the police will be restructured. When the nation is properly structured, all other things will fall into place. “You can see that they are protesting against SWAT, and that means it is not acceptable.
They should tell the government what they want. And by the way, the issue is not about the police, rather it is fundamental. You cannot have a population of 200 million and police it with a federal police. It does not happen anywhere in the world.
Go to India, Canada, US and Australia. “In America they have County Police, which we used to have here, like the Regional Police. What they should do is to decentralize the NPF, like it is in the UK where they have about three police forces. Go to Liverpool, Hampshire or Manchester, they all have their police force and our policemen have trained with them.
That is the ideal thing.” Iroham also said avenues should be created for Nigerians to make input into the kind of police they want. “If Nigerians are tired of SARS, they should tell the government what they want.
They should spell it out, so that the government will not be blamed for thinking and packaging an outfit which is pushed down the throat of the people. These people should be allowed to make an input into the net security outfit.”