Mike Okiro Says No To #EndSARS, But For Restructuring
Written by COMFORT 95.1FM on December 17, 2017
The Chairman of the Police Service Commission, Mike Okiro, has weighed in on the #EndSARS conversation, saying thou the special anti-robbery squad (SARS) has been bastardised, it cannot and shouldn’t be scrapped.
Okiro says SARS started around 1991 when Shina Rambo, a notorious armed robber, held sway in the criminal underworld. Okiro reiterates that at its inception, SARS was saddled with the responsibility of tackling robbery attacks and notorious criminals but along the line, its operatives deviated and took up investigative duties.
“There was no way to stop him. So, I and the then commissioner, Ademola, came up with the special anti-robbery squad”.
“The initial idea of the operatives wearing mufti, like I said, is for the element of surprise. So I’d say the original idea of SARS has been bastardised. The squad was feared before, and I mean by criminals. When there was a robbery in a bank, SARS would move there because they were trained. They also knew themselves because there was nothing like cross-firing. Every command had SARS standing by.”
“But by the time it spread to other states, it seemed like anyone would be carrying arms, dressed in mufti, with a T-shirt with SARS emblazoned on it. Anybody can wear such an outfit. They even go into cases of bounced cheques and shady business transactions. SARS business is not to investigate, but to hit. It’s a special anti-robbery squad, not an investigative one.”
In the end Mike Okiro says SARS needs to be restructured from inside out, “because scrapping the unit is tantamount to the police “stopping their fight against robbers”.