Over the years, young Nigerians and even the mid-age ones have lamented badly on the impact of SARS in the Nigeria community
In recent months, the activities of the SARS unit of the Nigeria Police Force have increase drastically; they have not being going about their duties as originally intended at the unit’s creation.
Before the creation of the unit called SARS in the Nigeria police, the police have already been painted as bribe collectors thereby allowing culprits make free runs since an amount have been paid. The collection of bribe has never been limited to road blocks alone but also run in the offices where criminals are sometimes allowed to run.
This has been the ordeal in the police which in recent years is still being tackled but has since grew even worse; daily.
WHAT WAS SARS?
The name is an abbreviation of “Special Anti Robbery Squad” intended by the Nigeria police to fight the rising issues of robbery in the country.
The unit was created by the former Inspector-General of police, Mr. Mike Okiro in 1991 who was then the Deputy commissioner of police operations in Ikeja, Lagos. The creation of the SARS was to tackle robbery cases then especially the case of Sina Ranbow who was then a big issue on robbery cases in Lagos, Nigeria.
Reading from its name, its only duty was to tackle robbery and nothing more was to it as of the time of creation; this is not what it is now.
Mode of Operation
The units original mode of operation was to work as under-cover police men thereby wearing regular cloths as other Nigerians but still fully armed. They wear mufti which does not distinguish them from other people probably walking or sitting somewhere around the neighborhood.
This style of operation helped them gather sensitive info thereby easing their operation and this got the unit stronger and better until it spread across the nation state-by-state.
WHAT IS SARS? NOW
Currently, SARS is a group of police officers harassing young Nigerians thereby extorting money from them; apparently, they have failed in their originally dedicated duty.
However, the issue of crime rise in the Country is also a one which has left the police in no situation other than to tackle it. Financial crime has been in existence a very long time ago even with some of Nigeria’s head of states who have looted billions of dollars for their selfish interest.
Focus: the focus now has been on young Nigerians who now engage in online scam activities which has lead to the frustration of their victims leaving some of them broke and hopeless.
Shift of Focus: The SARS has shifted its intended focus of “Anti Robbery” to “Anti Yahoo”. It has been the job and duty of the Economic and financial crimes commission ( EFCC ) since their creation by the administration of former President Olusegun Obasanjo to tackle financial crimes, both physically and via the internet ( yahoo ). But as of now, the SARS has taken up it vest to do this Job of sourcing out the so called Yahoo boys .
Reality: the reality still remains that robbery could still be classified into various categories thereby making the Yahoo business a form of Robbery too; in this case, the SARS still has no wrong in tackling this in conjuction with the EFCC.
However, over time even in the days of JESUS, there would always exist a Judas who could sell even his own people ( according to the Holy Bible ).
This has been the Big issue with SARS in recent times as the bad eggs would not do the job right thereby harassing young Nigerians ( probably for looking too nice, carrying dreads ) and also extorting money from them.
Young nigerians now suffer fear of harassment and extortion or probably false allegation by the SARS if they carry Dread locks, weave their hair, have tattoos or dress too good. 6 in every 10 young Nigerians have in one way or the other had an encounter with SARS.
Despite much talks by the Heads of Police, warnings and Treats to members of the SARS not doing their job aright, the issue has grew even worse.]
The Invent of “KOROPE” buses
In Lagas, SARS operatives are commonly known for moving around with the so called “korope” bus which was initially supposed to be for commercial use. As we believe, the bus was to keep their so called victims unaware of their presence. However lagosians now know them with this bus type thereby causing this unit of Police to devise several means of movement around the neighborhood.
The use of mufti by the SARS operatives was one of their initial mode of operation as to work under cover but this has taken another dimension as we sometimes can’t differentiate between a SARS operative and a criminal trying to extort money from a victim. They now wear Black T-shirts indicating that they are operatives of the Unit with the tag SARS or FSARS on the T-shirt.
However, this new way of distinguishing between a SARS operative and a civilian has blown their cover thereby alarming every passer-by of their presence; this was not how it was meant to be.
BAG / Expensive phones / Cars
It is now so believed that every man carrying a bag, walking around with an expensive phones is probably an expected victim of SARS. over time, a lot of young nigerians have been harassed by SARS operatives simply for carrying a bag containing laptop or probably having an expensive phone on them.
Young nigerians have now been made to believe that only men in suits and caftans have cars to themselves legally; every young man driving a car, carrying a bad with laptop in it or probably using a good smartphone is a potential criminal.
I have also had a lot of encounter with them and i know its still not the end simply because i am always walking around with my bag having my laptop in it.
The fight to keep SARS in its right track of duty is still on and we hope that soon, young and innocent Nigerians can walk around freely in their own Country / state.