Chief Superintendent of Police and Police Public Relations Officer, Zone 2, comprising Ogun and Lagos State, Ifedolapo Badmus has opened up on the outcry against SARS revealing the outcry is over-hyped on social media.
Read excerpts from her interview with Vanguard below:
Well, the issue of this squad called Special Anti-Robbery Squad, SARS, and its operational model has been over flooded basically on the social media platforms. The #EndSARS# started with a group of individuals that, due to their own personal experience or encounter with the operation, started the campaign. They propelled it with social media, escalating the whole issue negatively.
On their achievements
From the name, it is simple. Their duty is to combat violent crime in the society. So far, they are doing what is expected of them and also doing it well. They have been able to combat serious crimes. At least in the Lagos and Ogun State zone that I cover, there are notable incidents they successfully tackled. There’s this notorious criminal called TK in Lagos who terrorised banks and killed people around 2015 and thereabout. His reign of terror was very fierce.
The SARS unit was able to bring him down. Since then, bank robbery has reduced under SARS’ watchful eyes. Another one was the case of Evans the kidnapper and the kidnapping era. With all his sophisticated model of operation, SARS subdued him and others. Now, with all these laudable deeds by SARS, no one has come up to say, improve SARS and its personnel.
Nobody had also brought up #ThankyouSARS# campaign, but for a little blunder which we are also fighting to curtail within the organization, everyone is screaming ‘EndSARS.’ There are other crimes they are preventing from happening proactively. No one is talking about that. We are not saying that there are no issues within, but the truth is that social media users have over hyped the problem. All these are been addressed appropriately.
On the alarming number of SARS brutalisation reports..
We are aware that bad news sales faster than good news. People have been feigning SARS attack on the social media. I am a Zonal Public Relations Officer of the Force and I have noticed that people deforms information even when there is no confrontation at all. Most people somehow, do this to seek relevance on the social media. Even some celebrities are doing it.
The issue has spiraled to the other members of the Police Force: when a normal Policeman did anything uncalled for, they tag it SARS. This kind of act is sending a negative picture to the international community about Nigerian Police. We don’t have any other country other than Nigeria, and whatever we do reflects on us a people. The negative effects rub off on us too as Policemen.
When we are outside the country, they see us as corrupt officers due to social media postings. I have spoken to stakeholders in this #Endsars# campaign group, advising them that there are ways and manners the goal can be achieved without using social media platform to escalate the issue. SARS integrity has been projected in a negative form abroad, and even some people are afraid to visit home with the insinuation that SARS will attack them.