The SARS in you and I


By Waheed Shotonwa

When the youths of our dear country, Nigeria, took to the streets calling for an end to the brutality of the men of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) of the Nigerian Police Force which had a countless number of times brought an end to the lives of innocent citizens, it indirectly brought out so many inherent potentials of the leaders of tomorrow, as claimed since primary school days.

Whether the call was to #EndSARS, #ReformSARS or even #ReformNigeriaPolice, it has exposed the abnormalities of that section of the country which in some persons’ opinions has done more bad than good.

As the protests kept going round the nation though ‘peaceful cum bloody’ in some areas, it is very obvious that everyone carries in them an element of SARS. We are standing against the Nigerian Police because they had made theirs visible and audible to even the blind and deaf. How about the SARS in you?.

To the politicians, who sees representing their people at various political seats as a source of income less service to their people, obviously, they are a free-moving SARS even amidst security coverage. How did the allocation meant for the public made its way into your pocket if not owing to the innate SARS character in you?

Resumption at places of work is nailed at a particular time mostly between 7 am and 9 am. What’s your defence for not arriving at the stipulated time you signed for? Your SARS attribute at work! Or what reason have you on your nonchalant attitude to work, mostly exhibited by civil servants. The “Na government work be this o”, “I no fit kill myself on top government work” behaviours. Check yourself, it is the SARS in you.

Examination malpractice, blocking and sorting, extortion from the students and lecturers/teachers is clearly a way of exhibiting the SARS in you. Even the management of the learning institutions and the administrators of the educational sector who refused to do the needful to ease learning are the same as the men of the SARS on black.

A glance at the ‘bloody protest’ going on in some part of Benin, the Edo State capital. Civilians, in the name of protesting, have taken advantage and turned broad day SARS blocking roads, extorting money from commuting civilians, bright day robbery, burning of police stations and operation vehicles, according to some reports, raping innocent ladies and doing more than the atrocities of the men in black.

How about the intentional price hike without economic reasons but for selfish interests by marketers, producers, traders et al? It obviously the SARS in us.

What we seek to end with the protest actually resides in us. These uniform men of the SARS unit and the entirety of the police force were citizens like us before making their way to their present duty line.

No matter how much we clamour for reformation of the force, it still won’t do. If the police vow to stop collecting bribes from commuters, will the people stop giving them when they go against the law and charged with applicable offences?

So, as we seek for an immediate end to the SARS unit, it is equally pertinent upon us to end the SARS in us. Remember, “Our situations will not change until we transform and reform ourselves”.

Waheed Shotonwa is a journalist and can be reached via [email protected]


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