Scepticism has greeted the assurance of the Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Mr. Mohammed Adamu, that former operatives of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) and those expected to be deployed to the new Special Weapons and Tactics Team (SWAT) would be compelled to undergo psychological examinations which is expected to cost N750 million.
A breakdown of the amount reveal that 30,000 policemen are expected to go through the examination tbe conducted on each policeman costing N25,000 in order to be justified as professionals in their dealings.
It was gathered from a Police source that: “Policemen, who will be drafted into the SWAT Team, are also expected to go through the same test. These policemen are close to 30,000 and the money involved in achieving what Adamu has tabled is enormous.” One of them said: “They said we should all report to Force Headquarters, Abuja, for psychological tests. We were made to understand that the cost of the test, for each policeman is N25, 000.
We don’t know who is expected to foot the bill. “All SARS personnel, Anti-kidnapping and Anticultism units and the new SWAT are all expected to take this test. “We’re expected to go to Abuja from different states of the federation, but no money has been made available and nobody is talking about where we will sleep. They take policemen to Abuja and just subject them to sufferings.”
However, the pronouncement that policemen attached to SARS units would be made to undergo psychological examination, was one of the moves hurriedly presented to Nigerians by Adamu as the #EndSARS protests gathered momentum, roller-coasting into other states in Nigeria.
The #EndSARS protest, which started on October 7, is against police brutality, extortion, extra judicial killings, harassment and other human rights violation issues meted out by the police against civilians.
The protesters, while calling for disbandment of SARS, also demanded for reformation. The protesters, however, said they didn’t believe the IGP was sincere in his promise to carry out reformation of the police.
They questioned his hasty creation of SWAT, seeing it as another unit, which would be peopled by former SARS personnel. Ironically, it is not only the protesters that are expressing doubt over the moves of the IGP to do his best. Some SARS Operatives are also expressing doubt, asking how the government was going to cough up millions of naira needed for their retraining, medical examinations, transportation to Abuja and accommodations. According to them, their scepticism streamed from the ontinual abandonment of the Nigeria Police personnel in terms of funding. For years, the policemen had literally run their units alone, sourcing money through illegal means and most times at the detriment of complainants, suspects and other Nigerians. The SARS operatives disclosed that this week, they were all instructed to hand over their case files, suspects and court cases to the State Criminal Intelligence and Investigations Department (SCIID) in different states. They were also ordered to vacate their offices and be on standby.