By AZA MSUE, Kaduna
The Arewa Youth Consultative Forum, AYCF, on Saturday, described the protests in Lagos and some parts of the country for total ban of SARS as rented crowd street protests, warning that banning the anti-robbery unit of the police force will reverse the gains against crimes in the country.
In a statement issued by Alhaji Yerima Shettima, National President AYCF and made available to journalists in Kaduna
said a close look at the types of persons masquerading as protesters would reveal that they are there to protect the hidden interests of high-profile fraudsters, aka Yahoo Boys, thugs, street urchins and and their collaborators.
AYCF called on stakeholders in Nigeria, who are genuinely in support of a more decent police force, to lend their voices against veiled attempt by shadowy groups of dangerous people and their collaborators to stampede the Federal Government into a ban on SARS that would be regrettable in the end.
The forum appealed to IGP to create a special monitoring and disciplinary unit or special Task Force within the Nigeria police in order to check the excesses of the bad eggs in the service and take appropriate measures.
The statement reads:”We have observed, as a group, the loud calls for the total ban on SARS through politically-motivated protests in some parts of the country, notably Lagos State.
Much as we agree that the Nigeria Police, like all other agencies of the Federal Government could have a few black sheeps in the system, it is not as bad as warranting outright ban.
We are not, at all, persuaded by the new narrative and the rented-crowd street protests that SARS should be banned. We therefore declare as follows:
” It is already on record, that Nigeria needs another round of recruitment in order to increase the number of officers and men of the Nigeria Police Force to achieve the desired decrease in the growing incidence of dangerous crimes. Clearly, the nation needs additional, well-trained police personnel, like the hardworking Inspector-General of Police has rightly observed on a number of occasions”
The statement further explained: ” A close look at the types of persons masquerading as protesters would reveal that they are there to protect the hidden interests of high-profile fraudsters, aka Yahoo Boys, thugs, street urchins and and their collaborators. You would hardly see any prominent or respected Nigerian in the forefront of those arrangee protests”
“We are therefore disappointed that some people are hiding behind these suspicious protests to stampede either the IG of Police or the Federal Government into taking a rash decision that could make Nigeria lower its guard, to enable the prepare promoters new grounds for urban crimes, like armed robbery, kidnapping and allied crimes to flourish. This is will have dire consequences for the Nigerian people.
“We wish to also indicate that it is even more dangerous to allow the culture of young people running robbery ring, kidnapping or even a Yahoo Boys cartel, swindling people of millions of naira, while kidnappers demand unthinkable amounts of money in ransom or maiming their captives; while armed robbers continue with their killings”
“It is a smear on decorum to call for the weakening of any of the nation’s law enforcement agencies, much less the police, as robbers, kidnappers and Yahoo Boys dominate the country’s urban centres and doing as they please. No sane society would take kindly to this economic and general security threat, no matter the size of arrangee protests. It is so obvious that the hidden agenda of the promoters of these protests is whittling down the authority of a formidable, result-oriented unit of the Nigeria Police Force.
“The AYCF believes that many policemen in the country had been killed and we wonder if these policemen are not human beings; or don’t they have families too? No human life is more valuable than another.
As a group, we think the best way to take care of the bad eggs in the force is to first engage in massive institutional reform through training and retraining, something the IGP has hammered on, in a series of stakeholders conferences, as reported in the media”
AYCF added: “On no account should the IGP ban the SARS and should continue with massive, fresh recruitments to multiply the number of these special squads of policemen as a viable strategy for crime fighting. Nigeria has already come a long way in its efforts to curb urban crimes, using SARS as a legitimate force for achieving a lot, especially under the current no nonsense IGP. The question is: has the number of armed robbers, kidnappers and flambuoyant yahoo boys increased or decreased with the SARS operations or not? Any discerning observer knows that the fear of SARS amongst armed robbers, kidnappers and Yahoo Boys is now the beginning of wisdom”
“We also urge the security committees of the Senate and the House of Representatives to consider taking important legislative steps that will safeguard the nation against taking a decision capable of reversing the gains Nigeria’s war on crime” the statement said.