I can understand the frustration of every Nigerian with the share banditry and outright robbery-type modus operandi of a good number of members of the outfit tagged, FSARS/SARS across Nigeria.
This tactical outfit of the Police was borne out of compelling necessity. Armed robbers literally, took over every financial house – they strolled into banks in major cities of the country carting away millions as they wished and in their trail, deaths and destruction. You dared not keep any reasonable amount of money on your person moving from one point to the other or carry any valuable items on your travels. Such was the dire situation and something had to be done to check this and you cannot, to be honest, fault the berthing of FSARS/SARS. The outfit reassured the banking industry and brought relief to Nigerians who are into any form of economic activity. Most of us in the diaspora were encouraged by their presence on the highways as we travel from our port of landing to our primary city of visit.
Most times, policymakers of Nigerian institutions are not lacking in churning them out; problems have always been with marrying implementation and checks. Another wicked ‘third-leg’ is the evil of the perception and value-orientation of nearly every Nigerian!
The rookie Customs officer already thought of building estates and flying in jets before they were fully trained. The Police as an institution seems to only attract congenital evil-minded, corrupt individuals whom, even if you paid them millions in wages will still kill for a N20 bribe! In fact, away from the internal and border security institutions, every appointment made to check an ill or infraction, is viewed by the beneficiary as an outlet to slice out not only a share but the whole cup of the national cake! That’s why you see that soon as these appointments were made, recipients invite their clans, well-wishers and hangers-on to thanks-giving services at their preferred Churches… where they danced their legs thin and waists crocked in anticipation of the bounties – albeit illegal that will proceed from their office. Desire to provide service is pushed behind while focus to steal becomes their main grail.
Rot sets into our institutions and remained there, because organs meant to check them often times became a part of it. For instance, the Police DPOs answer to the State Commissioners of Police and Commissioners answer to their Zonal Police Chiefs and those, the IGP. In that order, RETURNS are made. So the outfield officers make returns to the DPO, the DPO to Commissioner and so on. Recommendation for promotion is mostly made based on how ‘loyal’ an officer was along the lines of ‘returns,’ that’s where this ‘kill and go,’ happens with no one morally, obliged to effect discipline.
With the uproarious objection to the activities of the FSARS/SARS, the authorities should devise a stringent means of checking the excesses of the erring officers in the outfits. Not scrapping them as some of our country folks are demanding. If you scrap these tactical outfits, robbers, outlaws and marauders would sweep into action with a renewed flourish and deluge of wanton destruction. And this will not augur well for us.
The IGP has started well by listing a to-do list of a no-no to members or officers of the Police tactical formations. We should read this holistically, while we wait and see how sincere he is with affecting his own order. For me, it would not amount to insensitivity, by Buhari, if he does not heed the call to scrap FSARS/SARS, by protestors.
By Wilson Akpomedae Ozuem,