In a recent interview with Vanguard, Dolapo Badmos, a Chief Superintendent of Police and the Police Public Relations Officer, Zone 2, comprising Ogun and Lagos State claims that social media users have over hyped SARS issue.
She said that, ‘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’.
Speaking on what the main duty of SARS operatives should be, she said ‘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 terrorized 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 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. She also spoke on video that went viral on social media showing SARS’ over-bearing action towards a man on the street who resisted arrest.
In her words, ‘yes, I saw that video. In my own opinion, that was uncalled for, especially the use of iron rod on someone. I felt it is not good. We are investigating the case. But you know, the late sage, Chief Obafemi Awolowo said, “it is only a madman that argues with a man carrying a gun”, because in any such situation, what should be at the back of your mind is safety.
Why going confrontational? No matter how little the offense, you don’t engage in a violent confrontation with a policeman. If a policeman stops you, whether you are right or wrong, for safety of your life, cooperate first. You can’t prove any cogent point in such a situation. Only a wise man can argue his way out in a proper manner. Unruly behaviour in a presence of a Policeman is assumed offense. In such a situation, I advise that you remain wise and live to fight through legal means than be killed. If you lose your life, even when you are innocent, the life can’t come back.
People may eventually rise against it and consequently, the officers involved will be dismissed, but cannot bring back life. So, the only option is to be wise. Right now, we are cautioning the men to behave appropriately because their duty is to protect the public. Funnily, the social media has made a lot of people to think that Policeman is no more a friend. It is equally sad to note that people sit in their house cook up stories of SARS harassment and post it online without proper evidence.
It is happening and some are using it to propelled the #EndSARS campaign. For that particular video, the office is analysing it. Information on true situation will eventually come out. I posted my phone number on the social media asking anyone with vital information to reach me, but till now, no one has come up, rather, what I see is flashes without proper call. We should change as a people’.