Former Vice President of Nigeria, Atiku Abubakar, has paid tribute to the Nigerian youths for their resilience in exerting pressure on the police authorities to disband the Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad in response to public agitations to end abuses by the unit.
“This was the right thing to do. A system that brutally eliminates our youths is not one to hold on to, and neither can we be proud of it. Now we can start on a clean sheet to envision an elite police unit similar to the SWAT and a comprehensive overhaul of the police and policing system that peoples-focused,” Abubakar said in a statement by his media office on Sunday.
According to Abubakar, the will of the people is the bulwark of the democratic system and those in authority cannot ignore the will of the people without undermining democracy itself.
The Wazirin Adamawa however noted that redeploying the bad eggs in SARS to other units may not augur well as they are capable of polluting those units.
According to him, the affected officers needed to be properly screened and retrained to ensure that they do not come into their new assignments with the same mindset for which the disbanded unit was notorious for.
Abubakar proposed an independent judicial inquiry into the activities of SARS that will ensure justice for victims of extrajudicial killings and punishment for officers involved in such dastardly acts.
He also suggested the opening of the dreaded SARS cells for scrutiny and stock taking of detainees.
He said the dissolution of SARS offers Nigeria an opportunity to envision a police and policing system that ensures the primacy of the interest of Nigerians, adding that the envisaged comprehensive overhaul of the Police should take into consideration the needs of Regional, State and Council components.
The Wazirin Adamawa congratulated Nigerian youths on achieving their resolve and reminded them that if they stand united they can achieve much more.
He enjoined them to be steadfast in ensuring good governance in an egalitarian society.
He commended the courage and patriotism of Nigerian youths that took to the streets and the social media to call for an end to the brutal abuses by SARS operatives.
He observed that “citizens who engaged in peaceful protests without molesting innocent people are heroes of our democracy”.
Abubakar added: “I must commend the courage and tenacity of these youths for holding rogue elements in the police force accountable.
“Apathy in the face of abuses promotes impunity, and therefore these young men and women deserve our respect for championing the disbandment of SARS.”
He paid tribute to Jimoh Isiaq who was killed in Ogbomoso, Oyo State in the course of the #EndSARS protests and all those extrajudicially killed over the years and expressed the hope that their sacrifices would not be in vain.