Just as the fire of anti-SARS protests spread to more Nigerian cities, popular prophet and senior pastor at the Omega Fire Ministries (OFM) worldwide, Apostle Johnson Suleman, has warned the Muhammadu Buhari-led federal government to provide the needed leadership for Nigerians in order to arrest the demonstrations that are fast blowing out.
Entering the third day, the protests against brazen extortion, illegal detentions and gruesome murders at the hands of the special police unit, have spread to states like Lagos, Delta, Osun, Abuja, Nigeria’s federal capital, and more. Nigerians are finally on the streets demanding that the government scrap the police’s notorious Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) unit, following long-running campaigns on social media platforms which seemed to yield no results.
Apostle Suleman is lending his voice to the demand that SARS is either banned totally or reformed to conform to international rules and standards for policing, otherwise, it is assumed the political leadership is the real killers of young Nigerians.
“The old have failed in leadership. Now, the youths are being killed by SARS. Their salaries are paid by these same failed old leaders. So, indirectly, the old (leaders) are (the ones) killing the young,” Suleman wrote in a Twitter post on Friday.
The firebrand preacher, who does not shy from airing his views on political and leadership matters, inferred that the SARS is a disgrace to the police force, adding that the special unit is “worse than the criminals they claim to be fighting”. “Their trigger-happy nature has rendered mothers childless, sent youths to premature death and daily waste destinies. They will reap what they sow,” Suleman declared.
Apostle Suleman, however, suggested that if the government would not proscribe SARS which was set up by the Ibrahim Babangida military government in 1992 primarily to combat the rise of armed robbery incidents, the entire police departments should be restructured.
“Since its establishment, SARS has garnered a reputation for arbitrary arrests, torture, extortion and extra-judicial killings. If we ask that it is dissolved, I suspect that the same brutal and callous officers could be absolved into other police departments. So, I would rather the government reforms the entire police force,” noted Suleman.
The cleric expressed disappointment that in a world of speed and advancement, Nigeria has continually been saddled with inept leaders whose names he had grown accustomed to. “As a teenager, I had continually heard same names around the corridors of power. I pray God raises a new breed without greed.”