Now that SARS has been disbanded, What next? By Abdullahi Magaji




We are all living witnesses to the circumstances that led to the Inspector General of Police disbanding one of the operative arms of the Nigeria Police Force, the ubiquitous and erstwhile Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) earlier today. There is no doubt that this action was quite commendable given the allegations against the establishment.

However, the question remains, what do we do with these police officers; do we absorb them into the system and deploy them to various police formations, divisions and outposts across the nation? Already there were growing calls against this move. A former Vice President, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar has said that it is dangerous to absorb them back into the system. Unfortunately, he did not proffer solutions.

While the IGP is busy making sure that he plugged the vacuum created by the recent move, the disbanded SARS operatives should be pooled together and be adequately trained. With this, they will form the nucleus of the modern policemen the country so desires.

However, if the beautiful piece by Hamza Suleiman, the NAN Correspondent in Maiduguri in which he narrated the exploits of SARS in Borno State, and called for the reformation of SARS, is to be taken into account, I think there is a better way to it.

There is no doubt about that the members of the disbanded outfit were indeed very experienced, courageous, better equipped and better trained than most of other policemen and women, they should be gathered and trained more at the Nigerian Army Special Forces School in Buni Yadi, Yobe State for at least three months.

After that, they should be deployed in the northeast to form the nucleus of those that would relieve the military in those liberated areas and towns such as Askira Uba, Bama, Banki, Biu, Damaturu, Damboa, Dikwa, Gombi, Gomboru Ngala, Hong, Konduga, Mafa, Maiduguri, Mubi and Potiskum, amongst others.

The policemen so deployed will perform policing duties and further reinforces the newly created police zones in the northeast. The move will enable the military to concentrate more on the Lake Chad Basin general area, especially the Tumbus, where the remnants of the Boko Haram terrorists are hiding and annihilate them.

This is in tandem with the history and doctrine of Special Forces all over the world, where small groups of highly trained, rugged and crack minded guys formed the basis of what most societies are employing all over for settling unconventional crises.

The police on employing the disbanded SARS in the northeast after the trainings and orientation, will regain its sting effect enjoyed in those days when mobile policemen were rolled out to quell crises. Thus, putting the police in better position to takeover their constitutional role of handling internal security.

More so as we have heard several complaints from the same police that, the military, particularly the Army, have taken over their jobs; while on the other side of it, Nigerians are crying that, the police have failed!

This should not be so. The Ministry of Police Affairs, Police Service Commission and the a Inspector General of Police should take advantage of this golden opportunity to reposition the Nigeria Police Force than now. 

Indeed, there is no better time than now as they have enough strength, better equipment than now that, the disbanded SARS which provides solutions to all the odds of old than now. I call on the IGP to seize this opportunity of putting square peg in square hole for a better policing in Nigeria!

Abdullahi Magaji is Kaduna based public affairs commentator and security analyst. He can be reached through his email address, [email protected] and tweeter handle @abdumag

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