The recent announcement of the dissolution of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad by the Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, is the right step towards ending police brutality in Nigeria. However, that announcement alone wouldn’t end the suffering of innocent Nigerians from the hands of their fellow countrymen seating in public offices. Police brutality isn’t the only issue that affects the quality of life in Nigeria and this certainly isn’t the time to sing victory. Instead, Nigerians must seize this moment to bring about a holistic change in how the country is governed.
Indeed, if SARS agents are removed from the streets, inhumane and corrupt officers across other various divisions of the Nigeria Police Force could still needlessly harass any law-abiding citizen. Also, if SARS agents wouldn’t be able to murder young Nigerians for leading lavish lifestyles anymore, it doesn’t mean poverty would stop killing or that dilapidated highways would simply fix themselves. This announcement must reinforce more protests and petitions for things to change. If we don’t request for more changes, nobody will because the Nigerian politician doesn’t face the same life realities as the regular citizen.
For instance, why would the NPF leadership dissolve SARS only when the #EndSARS campaign drew wide global condemnation and embarrassment? More so, if the politicians making anti-SARS motions in state houses of assembly truly care about the lives of Nigerians, why didn’t they make the calls in 2016 when Amnesty International exposed SARS as an exploitative and murderous police agency? The fact is that politicians in Nigeria don't care and they'll rather pretend as though the average Nigerian is content with the absurdity of a country they have created.
Ibrahim B. Anoba is managing editor at African Liberty and a fellow of the Center for African Prosperity at the Atlas Network, both in Arlington, Virginia. He tweets via @Ibrahim_Anoba.