SARS has outlived its usefulness, lasting solution must be found ― Pastor Bakare

• Demands sack, prosecution of criminal elements among officials

Pastor Tunde Bakare, the presiding pastor of Citadel Global Community Church, formerly called Latter Rain Assembly, on Sunday said SARS, an arm of Nigeria police created to combat armed robbery incidents in the country has outlived its usefulness, declaring that a lasting solution must be found towards a more holistic and fundamental re-conception of the country’s security architecture on the journey to national rebirth.

This was just as he warned leaders disposing the citizens of their rights to desist from doing so or face the God’s judgment, saying they should heed the warning to avert the destruction that would befall them.

Bakare, while warning further that “enough is enough,” prayed that God should unblock such category of leaders’ ears to heed the warning.

Pastor Bakare said this in his address at the church auditorium in Oregun area of Lagos, expressing sadness at the atrocities of the security outfit, which he said young and older Nigerians from various walks of life, across the length and breadth of the nation and the diaspora were united against in calling for its outright ban through the #EndSARS protests.

According to him, the grave irony of SARS is that it has become a grotesque embodiment of the problem it was created to solve, declaring that the outfit had completely lost the trust of the people it was meant to protect and secure.

Bakare said Nigerians from all walks of life, both within and outside the country, were united in rejecting harassment, humiliation and the coldblooded murder of their fellow citizens, adding that the resolve of the citizens amounted to a wholesale rejection of the barrage of needless frustrations and degradations that defined the Nigerian experience.

“It is with a heavy heart I have followed the #EndSARS protests, as young and older Nigerians from various walks of life, across the length and breadth of the nation and the diaspora, are united in rejecting harassment, humiliation and the coldblooded murder of their fellow citizens.

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“It is evident that SARS was created with noble anti-robbery intentions reminiscent of Operation Sweep, the late ‘90s anti-crime initiative of the Buba Marwa administration in Lagos.

“However, the grave irony of SARS is that it has become a grotesque embodiment of the problem it was created to solve and the tail is now wagging the dog.

“You simply cannot police a people without their cooperation, and you cannot obtain the cooperation of the people for a tactical unit they no longer trust,” he said.

“I recognise this movement for what it is: a wholesale rejection of the barrage of needless frustrations and degradations that define the Nigerian experience,” he added.

Pastor Bakare, while noting that there was a threshold of decency below which no human being must fall, rejected any status quo where citizens become disposable or the right to life becomes negotiable.

He, therefore, applauded what he described as the resilience of #EndSARS protesters amidst yet more reckless cruelty, expressing great optimism that this generation of Nigerians “will succeed where mine has failed.”

“There is a threshold of decency below which no human being must fall, and I reject any status quo where citizens become disposable or the right to life becomes negotiable. I applaud the resilience of protesters in the face of yet more reckless cruelty, and I am increasingly confident that this generation will succeed where mine has failed,” he enthused.

The presiding pastor, while acknowledging the comments and efforts of the presidency, state governments, the NASS and state assemblies, and the police as well as acknowledging “the need to find a delicate balance between curbing the spate of armed robbery as an occupation and acceding to the specific requests of protesters who have justifiably reached a saturation point,” insisted that criminal elements among the rank and file and the leadership of SARS must be fished out, expelled from the outfit and prosecuted.

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“This is non-negotiable,” he declared, adding: “We must re-evaluate, restructure, rebrand and rebuild confidence in an efficient and effective anti-robbery tactical unit even as we work towards a more holistic and fundamental reconception of our security architecture on the journey to national rebirth.

“This savage Nigerian-on-Nigerian cannibalism must end, and I expect a decisive and lasting solution to be implemented,” he added further.

Bakare, therefore, commiserated with “every Nigerian whose only crime was to be born Nigerian,” prayed for the souls of the departed to rest in peace, and the living to “forge a nation worthy of the resounding courage of the young men and women of the #EndSARS movement.”

He, however, enjoined every aggrieved citizen to continue to find peaceful means to air their discontents until what he termed a version of Nigeria every one would be proud of was attained.

“I commiserate with every Nigerian whose only crime was to be born Nigerian. I enjoin every aggrieved citizen to continue to find peaceful means to air discontents until we arrive at a version of Nigeria we can all be proud of.

“May the souls of the departed rest in peace, and may the living forge a nation worthy of the resounding courage of the young men and women of the #EndSARS movement,” Bakare admonished.

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