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“Why we cannot #EndSARS” – 5 takeaways from Police spokesman’s interview

Police spokesman, Jimoh Moshood

Takeaways

“Why we cannot #EndSARS” – 5 takeaways from Police spokesman’s interview

The Nigeria Police Force Public Relations spokesman, Jimoh Moshood, has said that “most of the complaints and allegations against the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) are not always true.”

He was speaking in an interview with The Punch newspaper. Here are five takeaways from the interview:

What SARS does: “It is a specialised unit of the Force that deals with armed robbery, kidnapping, cattle rustling, car snatching and the like; any crime involving use of firearms.”

How does a police officer become a member of SARS: “To be in SARS, first, you must be a policeman, a general duty officer, and you must have been in the job for not less than five years. You must also have prerequisite experience before you can be posted to the squad. The officer would also undergo operational training as well as training on handling of suspects.”

Why the police will not #EndSARS: According to Moshood, the police knows that “most of the complaints and allegations against SARS are not always true… SARS has been in existence for over 40 years and it is essential to the force, so we cannot dismantle it.”

“Some of the complaints in the social media are genuine, and some happened five, six years ago and some are bringing them up now. We know that any organisation that is subject to public opinion has to grapple with the responsibility of educating the public constantly. We can’t say because there are one or two infractions, we should end SARS because if you end SARS, robbers would take over.”

What the #EndSARS campaigners should do, according to Moshood: “We appreciate the patriotism of those demanding an end to SARS, but other groups are equally saying, reform SARS. So if they have any complaint against the unit, let them tell us and it would be addressed… They can channel their grievances to the police human rights desk officers for investigation.”

Did he say the #EndSARS campaigners are armed robbers?: We issued a press release and there was nowhere I mentioned that those calling for end to SARS are armed robbers. I never said that, but people can twist any issue. As a well-bred public relations officer, I would never call anybody armed robber.”

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