The Nigeria Police Force, NPF, has said some of the people involved in the #ENDSARS protests were not doing it out of patriotism, but because they were beneficiaries of criminal activities.
The Force Public Relations Officer, DCP Frank Mba, said this while categorising the different interests and players in the nationwide campaign against the Special Anti-Robbery Squad, SARS, a tactical unit of the Police.
Mba said some protesters were for genuine reformation, others seeking validation, while some were doing it because the activities of SARS’ personnel were disrupting their criminal gains. While justifying the necessity for SARS, Mba said the tactical unit was not just a creation of the Police, but a joint response by the police and society.
Meanwhile, Frank Mba, the police spokesman said: “The protest against SARS is for different reasons. There are those genuinely concerned about the professional misconduct of some officers and seek reformation because of infractions on the rights of some Nigerians. We are in line with them.
“However, others are protesting because they are beneficiaries of criminal enterprises. Some of them are people who are receiving stolen goods.
“Others are into organised crimes such as gunrunning, importation of drugs and so on. “There are also pseudo-activists, desperate for public validation or want to be seen as social media influencers. These are the ones that post false items and fake news.” On how SARS came into being, Mba said: “SARS, just like other tactical squads, is a child of necessity. They are societal/communal response and not just police response. “Years ago, the Police never had SARS.
But there was a time armed robbery took grip of the country. Lagos, for example, became the hub of bank robberies and car theft/snatching.
“Police authorities then came up with SARS, an elevated platform for police to confront violent crimes. “We were able to restore sanity in Lagos, Onitsha, Lagos-Ore-Benin Expressway, Kaduna-Abuja Expressway among others. “The Police leadership is aware that there are a few of our personnel that have conducted themselves in the past in manners that are inconsistent with our code of conduct, their oath of offices and our standard operational procedures.
“But the good thing about the police is that it is self-censoring and have strong internal mechanism for dealing with inappropriate behaviours and professional misconduct of personnel. “We will not, and will never, shy away from this responsibility of bringing erring personnel to book. We are one of the few organisations that will name and shame our own.”
He noted that, however, that if the #ENDSARS campaign is a metaphor for call to either reform, restructure or reposition the unit to improve the way things are done, “we are for it”.
“But given the investment government has put into training these officers and setting up the department and the critical roles that the department is playing, ending SARS is not even an option.
“As a matter of fact, we have received calls of commendation from some people, especially in areas were SARS officers are deeply embedded in the fight against banditry and insurgency such as Yobe, Maiduguri and Katsina,” Frank Mba added.