BY ADEWALE AJAYI, Lagos
The presiding pastor of Citadel Global Community Church, formerly Latter Rain Assembly, Pastor Tunde Bakare on Sunday said the Special Anti- Robbery Squad SARS, an arm of Nigeria police created to combat armed robbery in the country has outlived its usefulness.
Speaking in his Church on Sunday, he said a lasting solutions should have been found towards a more holistic and fundamental re- conception of the country’s security architecture on the journey to national rebirth.
Bakare also warned leaders disposing the citizens of their rights to desist from doing so, or face God’s judgment, saying they should heed the warning to avert the destruction that would befall them.
He expressed sadness at the atrocities of the security outfit, which he said young and older Nigerians from various walks of life, across the length and breadth of the nation and the diaspora were united against in calling for its outright ban through the #EndSARS protests.
According to him, the grave irony of SARS is that it has become a grotesque embodiment of the problem it was created to solve, declaring that the outfit had completely lost the trust of the people it was meant to protect and secure
Bakare said Nigerians from all walks of life, both within and outside the country, were united in rejecting harassment, humiliation and the coldblooded murder of their fellow citizens, adding that the resolve of the citizens amounted to a wholesale rejection of the barrage of needless frustrations and degradations that defined the Nigerian experience.
“It is with a heavy heart I have followed the #EndSARS protests, as young and older Nigerians from various walks of life, across the length and breadth of the nation and the diaspora, are united in rejecting harassment, humiliation and the coldblooded murder of their fellow citizens.
“It is evident that SARS was created with noble anti-robbery intentions reminiscent of Operation Sweep, the late ‘90s anti-crime initiative of the Buba Marwa administration in Lagos.
“However, the grave irony of SARS is that it has become a grotesque embodiment of the problem it was created to solve and the tail is now wagging the dog.
“You simply cannot police a people without their cooperation, and you cannot obtain the cooperation of the people for a tactical unit they no longer trust.
“I recognise this movement for what it is: a wholesale rejection of the barrage of needless frustrations and degradations that define the Nigerian experience,” he added.
Pastor Bakare, while noting that there was a threshold of decency below which no human being must fall, rejected any status quo where citizens become disposable or the right to life becomes negotiable.
He, therefore, applauded what he described as the resilience of #EndSARS protesters amidst yet more reckless cruelty, expressing great optimism that this generation of Nigerians “will succeed where mine has failed.
“There is a threshold of decency below which no human being must fall, and I reject any status quo where citizens become disposable or the right to life becomes negotiable. I applaud the resilience of protesters in the face of yet more reckless cruelty, and I am increasingly confident that this generation will succeed where mine has failed,” he enthused.
While acknowledging the comments and efforts of the presidency, state governments, the NASS and state assemblies, and the police as well as acknowledging, the Clergyman said, “the need to find a delicate balance between curbing the spate of armed robbery as an occupation and acceding to the specific requests of protesters who have justifiably reached a saturation point.”
He insisted that criminal elements among the rank and file and the leadership of SARS must be fished out, expelled from the outfit and prosecuted.
“This is non-negotiable,” he declared, adding: “We must Re-evaluate, Restructure, Rebrand and Rebuild Confidence in an efficient and effective anti-robbery tactical unit even as we work towards a more holistic and fundamental re-conception of our security architecture on the journey to national rebirth.”