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SARS operatives involved in Boko Haram war… it will be difficult to scrap it – Police Spokesman

Valentine Chinyem

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Following the nationwide protest that has now gone global against police brutality and the activities of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad, SARS, in Nigeria, the police has said it will be difficult to ban the unit.

This was made known by Frank Mba, the spokesman of the Nigeria police force, while speaking on Channels Television on Friday

He said some SARS operatives are involved in the fight against insurgency and banditry in the north.

Mba, described those calling for an end to the police unit on Social Media as beneficiaries of crime.

“If the #EndSARS hashtag is seen as a symbolic call for the reform of SARS, I would say clearly that the leadership of the NPF is in line and ready to work with those making that call,” he said.

“However, if the hashtag should be seen as a call for the total disbandment of SARS, I would tell you very clearly that it will be difficult for any responsible organisation to work that path, taking into cognisance the amount of investment in training that government has made in setting up that department and the very critical roles it is playing.

“As a matter of fact, we have received a lot of calls from people particularly in states like Maiduguri, Yobe, and some other parts of the north where SARS operatives are deeply embedded in the fight against banditry, insurgency.

“And these people have made it very clear that ending SARS is not even an option for them because of the critical roles SARS operatives are playing in those areas, heavily on bandits, terrorists and other kinds of criminals.”

The police spokesman said while some are genuinely concerned about the excesses of their police unit, another group want it scrapped criminals who would benefit more in its absence.

“There are people who are beneficiaries of criminal enterprise,” he added.

“Some of them probably people who are receiving stolen goods; who are into organised crime such as arms smuggling, illicit arms movement, importation of drugs and other kinds of crimes that are economically motivated.”

There has been renewed call by Nigerians to ban SARS, which the police high command and even the government, promised that thr group would be reformed. Part of the reformation is what transformed the name of the unit frkm SARS, to Federal SARS (F-SARS).

However, continued detention, torture, harassment, killing and even rape by officers attached to this unit, spurred the #EndSARS campaign and now protests.