FROM SARS TO SWAT — Nigerian Pilot News
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FROM SARS TO SWAT

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What is the philosophical difference or similarity between SARS and SWAT in terms of operational strategy, training and membership? Are some members of the new squad going to be selected from among the disbanded SARS? What then is the essence of the creation of Mobile Police (MOPOL) and its role in crime control as a Special Force?

At least, there is one big lesson the ongoing nationwide protests predominantly led by youths in Nigeria is teaching us, that is, in a democracy, it is very difficult to suppress a people who have come together to say no to misgovernance and misdirection in the country. The president as well as the Inspector General of Police addressed the country in response to the mammoth crowds of Nigerians who are tired of Police nay SARS’ extrajudicial killings, arbitrary arrests and indefinite detention without trial, and other criminal acts too sacrilegious and inhuman to comprehend. Is it not striking that the government that has remained impudent to shrill and desperate calls by angry Nigerians in the conventional and nonconventional media have come out and has succumbed to the demands of adamant #EndSARS peaceful protesters who have been occupying the nation? The IGP, on Tuesday, has announced certain measures to assuage the unrelenting youths whose protests are now grounding the country. They include unconditional release of protesters arrested and detained in police custody during protest; disbandment of the notorious and infamous SARS among others; all members of the defunct SARS have been summoned to the Force Headquarters, Abuja, for debriefing and for them to undergo mental and psychological tests. According to the statement signed by Mr. Frank Mba, Force spokesperson, the IGP explained that, “The medical examination will be carried out by the newly set-up Police Counselling and Support Unit (PCSU), a Unit, which henceforth shall engage in psychological management, re-orientation and training of officers of the Force deployed for tactical operations and other duties. “The Unit, which is domiciled with the Force Medical Department and coordinated by the Force Medical Officer, has its membership drawn from amongst psychiatrists, psychologists, medics, pastors and imams, Public Relations practitioners, Civil Society and other Human Rights groups with relevant qualifications and expertise”, he stated. As good as the above step appears, it has not answered basic questions. Beside the above and other steps being taken to reform the police, especially the immediate disbandment of SARS, the IGP stated that he has replaced SARS with a newly created unit known as as Special Weapon And Tactics (SWAT). Many Nigerians, including protesting youths are curious about SWAT: What is the philosophical difference or similarity between SARS and SWAT in terms of operational strategy, training and membership? Are some members of the new squad going to be selected from among the disbanded SARS? What then is the essence of the creation of Mobile Police (MOPOL) and its role in crime control as a Special Force?

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