Dear Mr. Mohammed Adamu (IG), greetings to you sir. My name is Adebowale Folarinwa BAIYE, I am a seasoned youth advocate/expert and a concerned citizen of Nigeria. With sincere concern about the ongoing End SARS protest, I am writing you this open letter to share a few ideas with you.
- Inspector General of Police *
First, let me commend you sir for taking the bold step by listening to the voice of the protesters and responding accordingly by disbanding the Special Anti – Robbery Squad (SARS) unit and recalling all its personnel back to the office. But sir, my concern and worries is the quick set up of a replacement for the defunct unit called Special Weapons and Tactical (SWAT). The days interval between the dissolution of the former unit SARS and creation of a replacement SWAT is a big abuse and misuse of purpose and opportunity.
There was a purpose for the End SARS campaign and for every Nigerian and the world at large to see the effect of that, there should be a genuinely reformed police force. This protest is a good opportunity for you to take before the presidency and Senate whatever problems or hiccups you’re having in providing for the nation a standard police force. Changing SARS to SWAT is a rebrand; what you just presented is a rebrand sir. The bottle of STAR, TROPHY, GOLDBERG, 33 can all carry different name, they are all larger beer with same intoxicating effects. This is simply what you just did say: rebranding not reforming. You should have at least, first reform, train and test a new unit over time for credibility, accountability and effective discharge of assigned responsibility before introducing such to the people under whatever name, not the quick rebranding from SARS to SWAT sir.
The Special Weapons and Tactics the entire police force need to discharge their duties effectively are: 1. Every police officer MUST know to heart the VISION and MISSION statement of the police force: Until every police personnel is made to know these two and work with it, the police personnel will at different locations, times and under different giving conditions, work differently in contract to the organisational set goals and purpose. The two lies boldly and proudly displayed at every police station are *POLICE IS YOUR FRIEND* and *BAIL IS FREE.* My question is, does the Nigerian Police have a VISION and MISSION statement? If YES, how many of your personnel knows them and can recite them. Kindly give us friendly police personnel and not bail mongers. 2. The personnel of Nigerian Police MUST have respect and value for people and people’s lives. What you don’t respect you cannot value; What you don’t values and, you cannot protect. Until discipline, courtesy and respect is forcefully implanted into the police personnel, they will keep misbehaving in and out of uniform and having a gun in their possession only aggravate their excessiveness to the peak.
Train your personnel to be respectful, courteous and value people. Your traffic police unit consist of barbaric and destructive individuals who proudly wade and brandish sticks, metal rods and other weapons which they use on commercial vehicles without remorse, sir this is a slap on that unit and the entire police force, there are better civil approaches. 3. Every police personnel MUST have respect and sense of appreciation for the job and the police uniform. The way your officers insult the police uniform and the entire organization is second to none.
Visibly you see a uniformed police refusing to pay transport fare by calming staff in public transport. Police personnel drinking to stupor in uniform. Police personnel taking illicit drugs, smoking hemp at joints in uniform. Police personnel visiting gambling and gaming centers in uniform. And same police personnel coming in the same bastardized uniform to make arrest at these mentioned joints in the name of discharge of duty. Sir, who is fooling who? Your police personnel are openly making a mockery of the entire force. 4. Proper identification of self and respect for people’s mean of identification. Your officers just go on rampage without caring about proper identification of themselves when out to make arrest or on duty call, if had several cases of fake police and impersonations.
They also have no regards for people’s means of identification, you can imagine your police personnels throwing people’s identification card away and just asking for money to secure bail which the same police keep telling us, BAIL is FREE. Sir, that’s to the level their impunity has attained. Sir, the above are just a few about your police personnel and some of their daily escapades. To me; like beget like. To instil, monitor, promote and protect a disciplined society, you need a disciplined unit for such a task. A visit to the different police barracks in the country is enough to tell you the character of the occupants. Please sir, take out time to visit other barracks like army, Air Force and naval for comparison. A visit to the various police stations is another evidence to justify their character. Take statistical analysis of every equipment provided to make policing work effective to your personnel and one won’t be surprised the reckless and unperturbed way they handle people’s lives and properties. Sir, like I mentioned earlier. A quick creation or let me stick to a quick rebrand of SARS to SWAT is an abuse and misuse of purpose and opportunity.
The ongoing protest and cries of the people is a good opportunity for you sir to look inward, constitute the investigation team to include civil organisations, human right bodies and other stakeholders to brainstorm and come up with workable solution to make the entire police force a citizen oriented force. No weapon ensure peace and tranquility like respect for self and respect for others. Until the day we have a police force where the personnel respects his or herself, the job and the people they are to discharged their duties to, up to the man in custody yet to be pronounced guilty; then and only then will the Nigerian police have her lost glory back. Leave special weapons for now, train all your personnel to respect every citizen as they will respect you sir. Sir, don’t ignore this letter. Give it a sincere thought. If you’re not a police man or if you’re not the IG, these same police personnel respecting and saluting you, would probably have bullied or slapped you. Their abuse of the provided firearms, their excesses in the uniform and bossiness in the perimeter of their sphere of influence and power (their almighty police stations) SHOULD BE and MUST BE curtailed and controlled.
My name once again is Adebowale Folarinwa BAIYE a.k.a SIMBA………..Rooooooooar. I am a youth advocate and expert. Feel free to call me sir, I am willing to work with you and the police force in area of understanding and policing the youth. *email@example.com* Nigerian youths don’t need hostility, violence or maltreatment from anyone; talk less from the police that should protect them.
What the Nigerian youths need and clamouring for is; sincere love, sincere guidance, someone to appreciate them, understand them and help them fit into the society irrespective of their background, academic qualification, religion, sex, age and ethnicity. The police and I , can give them that. Thank you sir.