Participants in the #EndSARS protests have been reminded that some operatives of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad have contributed immensely to the war against criminality over the years.
This was the submission of the Muslim Rights Concern in statement by its Director and Founder, Prof. Ishaq Akintola, on Monday.
MURIC thus said closer attention should be paid to other police departments if the excesses of the police is going to be curbed.
It said, however, the good ones among the police should consider the ongoing protests with its attendant travails as a trial from Allah and a confirmation of His divine warning.
The statement reads: “We remind #EndSARS protesting youth that not all SARS operatives are callous and vicious. Among them also are officers who have principle and who devote their whole life to the pursuance of criminals and the protection of innocent Nigerians at the risk of their own lives. They stay awake all night so that Nigerians can sleep in peace. No sane Nigerian can deny this.
“Among such SARS officers is Abba Kyari, the renowned super cop who has cracked several hard cases and in whose hands many hardened criminals have met their Waterloo. It is our considered opinion that generalisation will not be fair to such officers who have served Nigeria well. The reform of the Nigerian Police which is being contemplated should take note of such gallant officers.
“To all serving policemen and women, especially those who have consistently exhibited uncommon gallantry, chivalry, sacrifice and courtesy we rise above the angry crowd to appreciate you today. Do not be sad or despondent. Do not say ‘Why are my people doing this to me despite all my sacrifices?’ Accept what is going on as the will of Allah.
“Almighty Allah predicted it in the Glorious Qur’an, ‘Fear a tumult that will not only affect the culprits among you but it will affect the innocent as well…’ (Qur’an 8:25). The sin of a few is being visited on all. But you must accept it solemnly with faith. Allah is still coming to vindicate you at the end of the day.
“MURIC calls the attention of the Inspector General of Police to the need to permanently remove all roadblocks and to stop policemen from checking vehicle particulars henceforth. Instructions to this effect have been issued a hundred times by the police leadership but they were never adhered to. We note with special interest that there has been no single roadblock or police checks of vehicle particulars since the commencement of #EndSARS protests particularly in zones affected by the protests.
“The roadblocks and checkpoints have not been used to serve the original purpose. More often than not, innocent motorists are tormented there. It is not commercial vehicles or young Nigerians alone but also responsible and elderly people. Almost every vehicle that passes is stopped. Or how do you explain a situation whereby about six or more vehicles are parked at police checkpoints with the owners begging desperately?
“‘Where are your particulars’ have come to mean ‘Where are your party kolas?’ It happened to all of us. The police have created the impression of a Gestapo disposition. This must stop. Roadblocks and checkpoints must not come back again. If they do, the people must rise against it. It is the worst form of police oppression anyone can think of.
“What MURIC will not support is the extension of #EndSARS to other grievances. #EndSARS must not be politicised. It is tantamount to hijacking a cause and diverting the people’s sentiment to a narrow and selfish objective. Napoleon was indeed right when he said: ‘Men are led by toys.’
“In Cairo, no police checkpoints are mounted to stop and check vehicles. But every street has a policeman patrolling it with a walkie-talkie. Every road has a patrol car with two policemen watching. Only suspects are flagged down in the United States. Policemen only sit in their patrol vehicles by the roadside on highways.
“The world is moving fast and Nigeria must not be caught napping. Instead of wasting police manpower and the citizens’ manhour at roadblocks and checkpoints, it is high time we digitalised all registered vehicles. Those whose particulars expire will be notified by email and text messages. It is only those who fail to comply that will be penalised. The Nigeria Police must up its game. Ditto for the licencing authorities. We cannot afford to remain pedestrian in a jet age.
“A look at our major points before we round off: we doff our hats to SARS heroes like Abba Kyari; we appeal to righteous policemen to accept the ongoing tribulation with philosophical equanimity; we call on police reform panels to note the gallant ones among the police for adequate compensation; police roadblocks and checkpoints must not come back again and, finally, we call for the digitalization of vehicle particulars in conformity with global standards.”