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End SARS Protest : Nigeria Needs More Than EndSARS – RIFA

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RIFA has addressed the End SARS Protest in Nigeria and revealed what Nigeria really needs is more End SARS Protest.

Rights and Freedom Advocates (RIFA) in a Press Release made available to Wiseloaded Media reads;

Following spate of reckless killings, maiming and illegal detention of innocent Nigerians by the proscribed Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad (FSARS) officers of the Nigeria Police Force. Nigerians took the protest to social media which garnered support and culminated to nationwide condemnation of the erstwhile dreaded lawless FSARS whose crimes geometrically exceeded the crime it was created to suppress.

Rights and Freedom Advocates (RIFA) appreciate good Nigerians and international community including the media that associated with the struggle which RIFA have joined other spirited Nigerians to spearhead before now.

RIFA have continually condemned the criminality of criminals in Police uniform and on this we maintain our stand.

RIFA release of February 25, 2020 suggesting SARS should be proscribed before the deadly Police unit ends Nigeria quickly came to mind among many related earlier calls via press releases.

RIFA received reports on nearly weekly basis on how the dreaded unit turned itself to official oppressors of fellow citizens. Specifically, RIFA have sent messages to Commissioners of Police, Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Police Affairs Minister, etc including the Presidency of the Country which was sent a short message serviceon same issue of Police lawlessness on July 24, 2020.

We appreciate the presidency for hearken to the calls of the masses as the IGP is not different from the disbanded SARS. In fact, if not the presidency, the IGP won’t have done anything to the disbanded oppressive FSARS despite protests.

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On Monday 5th October, 2020 the IGP; Muhammadu Adamu made a release directing the hitherto lawless FSARS to vacate Nigerian roads and streets apart from other stern warnings to the officers.

However, most Nigerians who have suffered from the hands of the crooks were dissatisfied and the protest continued nationwide leading to loss of lives of other innocent Nigerians from same fellow citizens turned Police officers being paid to protect them. The unabated atrocities of the erstwhile FSARS led to the protracted nationwide protests calling for an end to FSARS which led to the proscription of the unit on Sunday October 11, 2020 by the Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN).

RIFA use this opportunity to commiserate with family of Jimoh Isiaka killed by Police officers in Ogbomosho on October 10, 2020and other victims of circumstance during a peaceful protest which is a constitutional right. RIFA also identified with protesters nationwide for expressing their grievances even though some bad elements wanted to hijack the protest.

However, RIFA urge the protesters to tow the path of peaceful protest and halt engaging in vandalism as that would amount to committing similar crimes upon which the protest was to oppose.

Actually, the whole Nigeria Police Force (NPF) needs reform from IGP to the lowest officer. If you complain to IGP, he hardly takes action ditto to many CPs, ACs, OCs, DPOs, etc.

The virus has infected NPF to the extent that police officers are synonymous to evils in the country. To report to officers being paid salaries, you would be extorted and when you are even duped by them or your rights infringed upon that they are supposed to pay one, they would still extort the victims of their oppressions.

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Nonetheless, the whole public service in Nigeria actually needs rejuvenation and not just the Nigeria Police although the Nigeria Police is the “haven of evils” in the land. Once other sectors realize the Police would not be part of their atrocities, they would quickly bow and follow the protocols, laws and dictates of their offices. So, all offices where corruption, intimidation and insubordination thrive, they should learn from the current revolution against the Police.

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End SARS Protest in Nigeria
We hereby call on Nigerians to join the movement to end lawlessness in all of government offices where impunity reign. Specially, the deputy governor of Lagos State; Mr Obafemi Hamzat is appreciated for joining the struggle by sharing his experience with criminals in police uniform in the past.

His statement significantly added to the impetus of the struggle which forced other governors to join the masses as RIFA watched endlessly the reactions of political elites only for them to start showing faces when Mr Hamzat identified with the protest. And to the annihilators, we assure you that no amount of intimidation would deter freedom fighters from pursuing noble cause of ensuring a serene society till our last breath.

Nigerian Police should be trained henceforth to have copies of their ethics and laws for regular review and compliance so as to guide their operations. Psychiatric tests should be conducted on all officers and only graduates should be deployed to the new special weapons and tactical team (SWAT). A special forum to attend to public complaints should be established with a serious officer as its head.

On Sunday October 11,2020 the IGP eventually gave in and proscribed the FSARS with the promise that the Police would be reformed afterwards which he has further compelled to do with concessions of October 13, 2020 to the demands of the protesters.

However, RIFA quickly observe that the same officers in FSARS now being transferred to other units would quickly transfer their deadly virus to their colleagues who were not as deadly as they were and so the need to de-radicalize FSARS and other police officers first with strict training, warning, disciplinary actions and regular reinforcement from ethical civil and human rights societies of repute.

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This is to be able to reintegrate them to the larger society with lesser evils. Their usual modus operandi of arresting anyone and extorting millions of Naira from people can hardly leave those FSARS officers. Therefore, RIFA calls on the National Assembly to consider one of the RIFA proposals in the memoranda submitted for Constitutional amendment.

In the said proposal, a call was made for an independent disciplinary commission that would compel any force or Ministry, Department, Agency (MDAs) whose member(s) mishandle the public members to promptly surrenders such erred staff to it for investigation and prosecution.

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This is because most of the atrocities Police officers or civil servants commit when reported to their bosses they usually cover it up. A case was the only surviving son of a family; Jimoh Abdullatef in Sepeteri, Oyo State killed on October 16,2020 and till date despite RIFA messages to Police authorities at State and Federal levels, no revelation has been made of the FSARS officers who killed the man.

The civil servants and public servants abusing their authorities should also see the end of SARS criminality as a call on them to be more disciplined and dutiful as against hitherto lawless Nigeria they have known. The people are now ready to enforce their legitimate power regardless of threats to their lives by the rampaging groups of oppressors.

As a lasting solution, RIFA suggest that no police officer should go out on duty without name and number tag on uniform and anyone that goes out conspicuously unidentifiable should be reported to authorities while authorities should be pro-active in discipline of such erring police officers.

No police should go to any Nigerian road with vehicle without registered number and where such is noticed such officers should be treated like armed robbers

Luqman Soliu
President,
Rights and Freedom Advocates (RIFA)

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