The Nigeria Police Force (NPF) has said it could not completely disband the Special Anti Robbery Squad (SARS) but will certainly reform it.
This was revealed during a Live Instagram Chat between Nigerian singer, Naira Marley and the Force PRO, DCP Frank Mba on Tuesday.
Speaking on behalf of teeming Nigerian youths, Naira Marley said the earlier scheduled protest was cancelled because the NPF was ready for a dialogue.
He, however, noted that while he was not in support of the total abolishment of SARS because of its significant role in reducing the crime rate in the country, there is a need for serious reform of the unit.
He listed the demands of Nigerians to include: the compulsory wearing of uniform by SARS operatives; going for patrol in marked cars; stop labelling youths with dreadlocks, tattoos and mini skirts as yahoo boys and prostitutes; stop searching phones and laptops; and quit exploiting the youths.
He added that Nigerians want to know the status of those officers arrested for exploitation and murder, and appealed to the NPF to compensate families of those who were killed by trigger-happy officers.
Naira Marley also pointed out the need for a synergy between the NPF and the youths.
Responding, DCP Frank Mba appreciated Naira Marley and Nigerian youths for jettisoning their earlier planned protest for dialogue.
He noted that the fundamental human rights of every Nigerian must be respected and that the NPF will do everything within its means to ensure that no one’s right is infringed upon.
He stated without mincing words that it is illegal to arrest anyone with dreadlocks and tattoos and that it is also against the rules guiding the NPF to label ladies in mini skirts as prostitutes.
He added that while it is impossible to totally disband SARS and other Tactical Squads, there will certainly be a reform.
Speaking further, DCP Frank Mba Said the NPF will ensure that policemen adhere to its code of conduct as well as the laws of the country, while emphasizing that the position of the IGP on FSARS is sacrosanct.
When asked if it was okay for Nigerians to video or tape record incidences of exploitation or infringement on one’s fundamental human rights by the police, DCP Frank Mba said it is not illegal to do so but one must be wary of armed officers. He advised anyone in such a situation to do so quietly because “your safety must take precedence over any other thing”.
He also spoke on the efforts of the NPF to modernize its operations by setting up a digitalized control room in Abuja and called on corporate establishments and affluent Nigerians to invest in the security architecture of the country since the NPF cannot achieve this alone.
DCP Frank Mba hinted that the NPF recently recruited 10,000 Nigerian Youths and this new recruits will help protect the interest of the youths.
This is coming few days after Nigerian youths began a #EndSARS campaign on Twitter to end SARS brutality in the country.