The man who inspired the successful campaign to bring an end to the reign of impunity by men of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), Mr Segun Awosanya, has disclosed that the unit may be renamed as part of the ongoing overhauling of the police elite squad.
Awosanya, who is popularly called by his Twitter handle, segalink, assured Nigerians of the sincerity of the police hierarchy in ensuring that a totally different unit emerged from the rubble of the present SARS.
Awosanya in a Twitter thread said the new SARS would have zero routine contact with citizens, as it “will only respond to distress calls pertaining Violent Crimes”, such as armed robbery and kidnapping.
He said current members of the unit who fall below the minimum standard set for readmittance into the emerging unit would be drafted to non-sensitive areas, where they will not pose any threat to members of the public.
The thread read” “I don’t know what you have been told but we are not Reforming SARS. An overhaul is ongoing and a holistic Reformation of the Police is ongoing. The officers in SARS will go through psychological evaluation & polygraph tests. Those who excel will be drafted into a new Unit.
“It will be unwise for this new unit to be called any name in relation to SARS. That memory must die to us all for a fresh start. The new unit of the elite squad will only respond to distress calls pertaining Violent Crimes (Armed Robbery & Kidnapping). This is what we stand for.
“Those wishing to push an agenda with narratives that portray them as winning the argument can word it as they please. For us, it is not about who is right but what is right. Our youth must be free and premium must be put on the lives of all citizens.
“For our police to function effectively, they must earn our trust. For this to happen they must listen to our feedback as the off-taker of the services they render. We are more than willing to work and assist but clarity and understanding are key. We remain with the people.
“There several units in the police system that others who fail to qualify for readmittance can be absorbed in without being confronted with dealing with the citizenry on the streets. There are other volatile areas in Nigeria badly in need of belligerent engagement.
“There will, however, be pockets of incidents here and there pending the time a lot of the policies and plans take shape. It is not a switch. The changes will take a bit of time before we witness an overwhelming turnaround. Keep reporting.
“The Police have opened their doors to interventions by the public sector. They have involved independent professionals as well as the NHRC, IHRC and our advocacy to monitor the process and contribute to the reforms. So there’re no games here.”