The inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu recently set up a new Police outfit to take over from the disbanded Special Ant-Robbery Squad (SARS) of the Nigerian Police Force following the #EndSARS protests. Known as Special Weapon Tactical Team (SWAT), the unit will fill the gaps arising from the dissolution of the defunct SARS. There have been different opinions over the creation of SWAT. While the majority of Nigerians are of the standpoint that it’s mere renaming, others posit that the dissolution of SARS will not bring an end to the brutalization of citizens. However, few share the unpopular view that SARS shouldn’t have been disbanded. LADY BARBARA NEGBEJIE sought the views of some Nigerians. Happy reading.
‘SARS or SWAT is immaterial; what is important is an overhaul’
The hood does not make the monk. Whether the name is SARS or SWAT is immaterial. What is important is an overhaul and a new orientation to reflect in their behaviour and their professional way of carrying out their police responsibility. It is that ingenuity in them that distinguish them from others. Not change of Name. Pay them well, train them, monitor their excesses then set a standard to reward hard work and punish indolence or corrupt ones. Hold them accountable for their extra judicial behaviours. On the other hand, the overhaul should be holistic taking cognizance of these questions begging for anwers: – Why is their training not done by merit? – Why are they not getting promotion on merit? – Who is withholding their allowances? – Why are they paying for their uniforms? Yet our politicians are getting theirs upfront and regularly. But the root cause is bad economy/ bad government. We shall no longer recycle failures.
Sir Philip C Agoha
‘The name SWAT sounds like oxymoron’
The rather hasty switch from SARS to SWAT suggests that the IG and his cohort do not appreciate the depth of the problem. What we run is a policing system that protects against the people. They achieve this by recruiting officers that are mostly poorly-trained, poorly-renumerated, and are thus prone to sadistic use of power. There lies the problem, and it is hard to believe that the IG reflected on the issues long enough within the 48 hours when SARS was dissolved and SWAT set up. Even if Mohammed Adamu had been thinking of the problem of the bad policing system in Nigeria all his life, they would still have needed some more time to dissolve the part of their existing infrastructure that needed overhauling. At the same time, they also spend quality time refining other aspects of their operations. The name SWAT sounds like oxymoron.
What is the modus operandi of SWAT? What about special weapons? Will SWAT conduct illegal searches on Nigerians going peacefully about their business? Will SWAT be looking for special weapons imported to the country by Boko Haram and Fulani herdsmen terrorists? What type of tactics and for what? Tactics to kill or maim, or rape, or torture? The primitive and deaf tone with which the Federal Government replaces one evil with another evil is worrisome. Remember, when Nigerians rejected cow colony, it was replaced with RUGA. When RUGA collapsed, it was renamed Water Resources Bill. The government believes Nigerians are fools who are incapable of knowing that one evil has been replaced with another evil with a new name. For the government to replace SARS with SWAT is like replacing Satan with Lucifer! SWAT is SARS, SARS is SWAT. Period! This is the time we have to get things right, All the OLD & EXPIRED MEN at the top of affairs are due to retire to the farm because they have nothing to offer and are all outdated. TOTAL REFORMATION IS THE SOLUTION
• Ijeh Celestine Emeka
‘SARS TO SWAT is an issue of mere nomenclature’
Very unfortunate that we have a system where our leaders are appointed or elected based on class not personal profile and ability to deliver. SARS TO SWAT is an issue of mere nomenclature because both are superficial structure that hinge on the same faulty and corrupt sub-structure of police system. My most discomfiture is the rush of IGP in response to #EndSARS or EndBADLEADERSHIP by surreptitiously announcing the change in name, without considering the IQ capacity of rational Nigerians. Painfully I understand the training of the SWAT we rejected commenced on Monday October 19, 2020, another evidence that we don’t have a people centric leadership.
Obviously defunct SARS and conceived SWAT originate from the same faulty foundation of police system of poor substandard and inhuman training that makes them brutal to their employers. The same faulty system that is allocated highest and unaccountable volume of the national budget via defence and security votes, yet salaries and welfare of the junior cadre who are the real police operatives are jettisoned to favour the senior officers who demand endlessly from the former monetary gratification to either promote or post them. The same faulty system which entrenched bribery, road blocks and acts of vandalism as vital means to measure professional survival for the operatives, this is also a major criteria to ascertain officers loyalty to the hierarchy. Changing from SARS to SWAT is a reiteration of the teaching of the Lord of putting new wine into old wine skin, both will be consumed in imminent self destruction. To be concise SARS or SWAT will produce the same result if we do not have general reforms in the police and our political system as even a reformed police will be rendered impotent by the politicians if our political structure is not reformed or restructured to make policing service oriented and have respect and devoted loyalty towards their employers not politicians.
Although the IGP in his frustration to defend the birth of SWAT which indeed is already in existence said that no member of the defunct SARS will make the list. Probably that will be the first list because subsequent list will certainly go 95% to North as usual and of course they must have by then derailed from objective to serve hierarchical command chain mandatory material objective. In conclusion SARS to SWAT is bound to produce the same result on the long run because of the source and orientation established by our faulty police/political structure, so only a genuine holistic positive reform by an independent body that can pacify the ENDSARS agitation. Even if the politicians suppress the movement now by sponsoring hoodlums to usurp the protest purpose, as seen done yesterday, in Edo that resulted to imposition of the curfew. It will resurface but in a manner we may no longer be able to handle, may our leaders do the needful to prevent further bloodshed in this country. Nothing is worth shedding of innocent blood of Nigerians (GEJ)
• Tony Offor