OrderPaperToday – A former member of the National Assembly, Senator Kabir Marafa, has expressed regrets over the scrapping of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad, SARS, a dreaded unit under the Nigeria Police Force.
Marafa, who represented Zamfara Central senatorial district in 7th and 8th assemblies, however urged President President Muhammadu Buhari to “shine his eyes and be careful.”
Noting that he is against police brutality, Marafa posited that the protest might be politically motivated.
His position tends to agree with that canvassed by President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, who last week, said the scrapping of SARS was not the solution to police brutality in the country.
Mr. Marafa’s reactions were contained in a statement signed by him on Monday following repeated protests against police brutality in spite of the scrapping of SARS by the government.
While some Nigerians have been killed in the relentless protests, others were picked up at scenes of the protest and detained by the police.
According to the former Senator, the protest staged in parts of the country “was actually targeted at the President Buhari’s administration and not the SARS.”
The Statement reads: “I’m not supporting police brutality against any innocent citizen, I’m not for it and I will never support it but because of the foolishness of some few police officers, you staged protest to call for the dissolution of a whole unit, that is responsible for fighting serious crimes, we need to be very careful.
“The president needs to shine his eyes and be very careful. The president may be playing into the hands of his enemies. My take is that some people are eager to do away with this government by anyhow. By staging this protest to call for the disbandment of the SARS, I’m afraid we may be descending into greater problems, especially where I come from. At the end, the same people will come out to accuse the government of failing from protecting the lives of the citizens.”
He queried the fact that protests were not carried out during the heat of killings by armed bandits in Zamfara while series have been staged to scrap the unit due to “some misguided actions of a few SARS operatives”.
He continued: “So, I think there is need for all of us to be very careful in some of the decisions we take. I come from Zamfara State and I have fair knowledge of what we are going through now. I also know what our neighbours in Katsina, Sokoto states are going through. I had reasons when I was in the Senate to call the attention of the president and the good people of Nigeria that what was going on in Zamfara State will affect other states. And this is where we are now.
“I cannot see the reason why people; in a village of not more than 3,000 people, more than 200 people were killed within two hours and this thing is going on and on. Nobody stage a protest against it. Questions are not being asked as to why these people are being killed; on why people are being abducted and on why ransoms are being paid every day.
“But because of some misguided actions of a few SARS operatives, you now staged a nationwide protest, calling for dissolution of SARS. We need to be very careful. The president needs to shine his eyes and look at these things beyond what these people are doing.
“I can tell you the protest is not about SARS, it is about this government. Some people, maybe are unhappy with this government and maybe they want to ignite problem from somewhere. One thing may lead to the other, before you know it, it will become a national problem. Can we live without SARS, in one form or the other? It is not possible”.
The former lawmaker rather canvassed for strengthening of security agencies.
“The essence of government is about protection of lives and properties. Instead of strengthening the security agencies, look at where we need to improve, you are calling for the disbandment, no,” he added.
Recall that upon resumption from recess late September, the senate resolved the killing of a young lady in Abuja by SARS operatives.
In its reaction to the SARS brouhaha, the House of Representatives last week, resolved to pursue a holistic reform of the police force. Watch the video of House Speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila’s statement on the issue.