– Atiku, Saraki, others knock SARS, demand urgent reform
Special Anti-Robbery Squad of the Nigeria Police Force has come under heavy attack again as many Nigerians including former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar and ex-Senate President Bukola Saraki have called for an immediate reform of the unit or scrap it.
This followed a reported shooting of a young man in Ughelli, Delta state, whose video went viral on Saturday. The victim suspected to be a Yahoo boy was said to have been left on the road to die after his vehicle was taken away.
This came as the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, has banned operatives of the Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad (FSARS) and other Tactical Squads of the Force from routine patrols nationwide.
Celebrities such as Femi Kuti and Kate Henshaw as well as ordinary Nigerians twitting under #EndSARS also condemned other extrajudicial killings by the group.
Atiku said SARS had lost focus and continued to terrorise the people they were meant to protect.
In a series of tweets, the ex-VP said, “The Special Anti-Robbery Squad unit of the @PoliceNG was set up to confront violent crimes such as armed robbery, kidnapping and other related crimes.
“However, the unit has today morphed into an oppressor of the Nigerian masses who strive every day for a better life.
“Reports of intimidation, harassment and outright extortion by officers of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad have continued unabated.
“I strongly condemn their cruel actions against our people, and I urge the government to rise to the occasion and nip this monstrosity in the bud with the seriousness it deserves.
“It is expedient that the activities of SARS are reviewed to ensure that the rogue elements are excised from the unit and sanity returned to its operations.”
Also commenting on the issue, Saraki tweeted, “The reports of the continued harassment, illegal arrest, detention and high handedness by rogue cells of the SARS Unit of @PoliceNG against innocent Nigerians – most of them young people – in spite of efforts to reform the Police & raise standards of policing, are disheartening.
“A situation where the officers of @PoliceNG become a threat to the lives and property of the very citizens they swore to protect is condemnable and unacceptable.
“I call on the Federal Government to immediately put a stop to these reprehensible activities and restructure the unit to better perform its lawful duties of safe guarding the lives and property of the Nigerian people.
A popular musician, Femi Kuti, said, “How many more innocent people must SARS/the police kill before urgent steps are taken to completely overhaul and reform the entire police force? Obviously government and their families are safe must be why they are nonchalant and indifferent.”
Renowned actress Kate Henshaw, stated, “Until SARS kills one of their own…..then and only then will they care…”
Meanwhile, in a statement announcing the IGP ban on patrol by (F)SARS and other related groups, the Force Public Relations Officer, DCP Frank Mba, said on Sunday that no personnel of the Force was authorised to embark on patrols or tactical assignments in mufti.
He stated, “They must always appear in their police uniforms or approved tactical gear. The IGP’s directives come against the backdrop of findings by the leadership of the Force that a few personnel of the Tactical Squads hide under this guise to perpetrate all forms of illegality, contrary to the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP), Code of Conduct and Rules of Engagement establishing the squads.
“Specifically, the IGP has warned the Tactical Squads against the invasion of the privacy of citizens particularly through indiscriminate and unauthorized search of mobile phones, laptops and other smart devices.
“They are to concentrate and respond only to cases of armed robbery, kidnapping and other violent crimes when the need arises.
“The IGP notes that the FSARS and other Police Tactical Squads remain a critical component of the Force in confronting prevailing and emerging violent crimes in the country.
“He however condemns every act of unprofessionalism, abuse of human rights and high-handedness by some personnel of the Squads.
“He has therefore ordered the X-Squad and the Monitoring Unit to embark on immediate and massive nationwide monitoring of activities of Tactical Squads and other police officers.”
Ijaw group warns against tampering with 13 percent derivation formula
A Niger-Delta group, Ijaw People Assembly (IPA) has condemned the proposal by 59 members of the House of Representatives seeking an amendment of Section 162(2) of the 1999 Constitution.
It said the real motive was targeted at deleting the Principle of Derivation which stipulated 13% of the revenue accruing to the Federation Account from natural resources, describing the move “as an inglorious attempt and a misadventure.”
The group’s scribe, Dortimi Tawari, who spoke in a statement, yesterday, said the plan was an “invitation to chaos and eventual collapse of the Nigerian economy.”
Tawari warned the proposal was “another form of internal colonization, an attempt to strangulate and subjugate the Ijaw nation and other Niger-Delta nationalities.”
Part of the statement read: “The Ijaw nation being a host nation to oil and gas resources and assets, the IPA views this proposal as another form of internal colonization, an attempt to strangulate and subjugate the Ijaw nation in particular and the other Niger Delta nationalities.
“Need it be mentioned that it is an invitation to chaos and eventual collapse of the Nigerian economy. The ljaw People Assembly vehemently oppose a system that will drag the ljaw Nation and the other nationalities in the Niger Delta into undeserved subjugation and retrogression.”
Tawari reiterated the call for a restructured Nigeria that “guarantees resource ownership, control, management and freedom to appropriate a declared percentage of derived revenue to the central government or an arrangement of sovereign nations as the extreme option.”
He said a restructured Nigeria “will promote a productive economy and end the current monthly sharing (rentier) economy under some spurious formular which has encouraged laziness and unviability of states from which the said 59 members all hail from.”
Treat bandits as terrorists – Speakers tell President Buhari
The Conference of Speakers in Nigeria has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to declare bandits terrorists and enemies of the state.
The Chairman of the conference and Speaker, Bauchi House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Abubakar Suleiman, made the pronouncement at the end of the third quarter general meeting of the Conference of Speakers in Katsina on Saturday.
He said the call was one of the outcomes of their 5-point communique reached at the end of their deliberations.
According to the Speakers’ Chairman, they have come to realise that the mode of operations employed by the bandits is not in anyway different from that of terrorists and as such should be treated as one.
Other resolutions reached in the course of the deliberations included working out a legislative framework to complement federal government efforts in the fight against insecurity in the country.
Also, the conference resolved to come up with appropriate laws that will address the fundamental issues responsible for the insecurity experienced in the country.
The communique also harped on the need to create employment opportunities for the teeming youths as a means to curb the insecurity situation bedeviling the country.
Everything is the opposite yet Nigeria not a complete disaster – Soyinka
Nobel laureate, Prof Wole Soyinka, has said Nigerians are still managing to eke out a living despite the bleak realities confronting the country.
Soyinka spoke during an interview with the Cable News Network monitored by our correspondent.
Commenting on the ironic title for his first novel in 48 years, Chronicles from the Land of the Happiest People on Earth, he said things happened around one as one grew up, witnessing the degrading of dream and environment in one’s society and on the continent.
He explained that for him, the issue had been an arduous journey, adding, “It has reached such a stage, I found intuitively, that only prose fiction can handle things that have been bubbling up inside me.”
He said the title came after some people some years ago conducted a poll which placed Nigeria among the top four happiest nations in the world.
The playwright noted, “That thing has been with me, in my head. I asked, ‘Who are these people? What do they know? What have they seen? What have they experienced in Nigeria that they make such an attribution?’ That title really has been waiting to answer that claim in many ways. When you look at the surroundings, everything is the opposite and yet, Nigeria is not a complete disaster.
“People still manage to eke out a living not only a living but to some extent a dignified and satisfied living. I think it’s not surface appearance of contentment or making the best of a really bad job, insisting that no matter what life must go on… It’s that which needed to be, quote and unquote, celebrated in addition to the bleak actualities.”
The elder statesman further said he took the decision to change his former relationship if Donald Trump was elected president of the United States despite “being literally an enemy of decency and humanity’’ and his blatantly discontent for non-white humanity.
He stated, “I never really totally turned my back on the United States. I mean how could one? We have many Nigerians there, to start with. When I stroll through the streets of the United States, I sometimes think the United States is an extension of Nigeria, that it’s part of our diaspora.” That’s not an easy decision but it was inevitable.”
Commenting on the 2021 Nobel Prize in Literature awarded to Tanzanian novelist, Abdulrazak Gurnah, Soyinka said his immediate statement after the announcement was “let the African tribe expand wherever situated.”
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