A Nigerian man has revealed his disappointment with operatives of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) after his encounter with them yesterday in Lagos.
The man, identified as Simon Utsu, also revealed how he and his friend were saved after putting a call to an Air Vice Marshall after their “illegal arrest”. Read his story…
“Of recent, I’ve read zillions of narratives about the way the men of the Special Armed Robbery Squad(SARS) have been operating with reckless abandon and impunity. How they’ve turned a once respected unit of the Nigeria Police Force to a bandit of sophisticated armed robbers, assassins, ritualists, rapists etc. Never did I envisage I would/could fall into their ‘trap’.
An old and very close friend of mine came visiting yesterday. At about 11:30pm, we stepped out to get some takeaway somewhere in Lagos, a stone’s throw from where I’m putting up. We had done that and were on our way home when dangerous looking SARS operatives operating with a commercial bus (Danfo) cornered us gestapo style, pointed assault rifles at us and commanded us to get in. I and my friend did so albeit with a degree of reluctance. In the bus, there were so many people wailing and begging to be let go. I’m sure 90% of them were innocent ‘wanderers’.
A young lad in that vehicle was even crying about how he was heading home from a late church program, the innocence in his voice was palpable. So much and so little raced through my head. I had heard lots of stuff about them and braced myself for the worst even though I knew they weren’t going to take I and my friend far- my good ol’ friend was there of course!
He brought out his phone to put a call across to his elder brother but discovered he was out of call credit. My blackberry was off but luckily for me, my smaller phone was still on.
He dialled the number on my phone and after explaining briefly to his brother, he tapped the closest policeman to us and told him he would like him to speak to his elder brother, who is an Air Vice Marshall(Major General equivalent). That was our ‘saving grace’.
The policeman in a bid to exonerate himself and his team, lied to the AVM that we arrested because we were caught in a red-light zone. Needless to say, we were immediately let off the hook.
I’m now of the opinion that SARS should be disbanded asap. The deadly looking guys I saw yesterday don’t deserve to serve as law enforcement officers; they would operate better as assassins or armed robbers. Save for the intervention of a senior military officer, I would have been coughing out a non-refundable 50,000 Naira (minimum) ‘bail bond’ today.”