It’s high time we start talking about how to avoid SARS brutality in Nigeria.
SARS has been compromised and the majority of the people recruited into the service see the profession as a pot of wealth.
Based on the assumption that every good looking guy is a Yahoo boy (internet fraudster), some of the operatives arrest people illegally and use all forceful means to obtain money from them.
According to Punch,
Whether you’re a criminal or not, there won’t be any problem once you meet up with their demand.
But if you don’t, you’ll be brutalized.
Today, I came across a question on Facebook that says:
The person asking the question wanted to know if SARS is constitutionally permitted to detain and torture suspects.
Share your opinion on the barbaric treatment of people in the hands of SARS in the comment box below.
In answering this question, you’ll know how to avoid SARS brutality in Nigeria, irrespective of your locality.
The problem is one of the major setbacks in Nigeria’s digital economy.
The hostility has reached the level where the spirit of entrepreneurship parts with Nigerian youths who are interested in online business.
As the people don’t have the freedom to express themselves, using revolutionary technologies has landed many innocent people into SARS custody.
While BLOGGERS are mistaken for YAHOO BOYS, it takes an extra caution to deal with the circumstance.
As a result of this, the question keeps popping up.
At different offline forums, even on Facebook groups where Nigerian BLOGGERS meet, the same question is what the majority is asking.
Meanwhile, people have different opinions about cyber-crimes and SARS in Nigeria.
Some say SARS should be abolished.
Against that opinion, some believe if the government should end SARS, robbery, kidnapping, cultism and cyber-crimes will increase.
However, SARS should rather be regularized so that the bad eggs in service can be brought to book.
Each party must have a good reason to support their claims.
But because that is not within the scope of this topic, there won’t be any debate on the fate of SARS in Nigeria.
Rather, we should look at the simple ways to avoid SARS harassment.
TABLE OF CONTENT
- 1 How to avoid SARS brutality in Nigeria
- 1.1 1. Mind the company of friends you keep
- 1.2 2. Register your blog as a business with CAC
- 1.3 3. Don’t compromise your online business
- 1.4 4. Don’t engage in a serious argument with SARS
- 1.5 5. Have a good means of identification
- 1.6 6. Be quick to send out a distress call
- 1.7 7. Don’t flaunt your riches
- 1.8 8. Don’t hang out late at night
- 1.9 9. Get a lawyer
- 1.10 10. Always dress well
- 2 When was SARS established in Nigeria?
- 3 Does SARS have the rights to arrest, beat and detain Bloggers?
- 4 Conclusion on how to end SARS brutality
How to avoid SARS brutality in Nigeria
Because our security system is malfunctioning, many things are not right.
In that circumstance, it’s better for you to prepare yourself and prevent being a victim or seeing the worse.
You can take the following measures to avoid SARS brutality in Nigeria:
1. Mind the company of friends you keep
You might be innocent while your friends are not.
If SARS bursts you and finds out that your friends are Yahoo boys, it will be hard for you to claim your innocence.
It’s not possible for you to keep friends and claim not to know the kind of deals they are into.
The moment you realize that something is strange about your friends, keep a distance immediately.
2. Register your blog as a business with CAC
SARS operatives are sensitive to any business that has to do with the internet.
When you run into them and say you’re a blogger, the issue becomes more complicated.
For you to claim that blogging is your business, you must have a legal backing.
Otherwise, you’ll be like someone playing with a naked light at the gas station.
Most of the security officers are ignorant of the fact that blogging is a legitimate online business, thereby mistaking bloggers for Yahoo boys.
So, if you claim to be a blogger by profession, having your business registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) of Nigeria will save your face.
3. Don’t compromise your online business
It’s very easy to mix a bit of Yahoo-Yahoo with blogging and use one to complement the other.
That will lead you into trouble.
SARS are aware of the possibility of someone being a Yahoo boy but using blogging or other businesses to cover up his crimes.
Being a blogger doesn’t mean you can’t be a criminal.
So, you must stay clean and have nothing to incriminate you on your smartphones or personal computer to prove your innocence.
4. Don’t engage in a serious argument with SARS
Every security officer has the power to flag you down and ask for your identification.
Based on intelligence, you might even be asked to surrender yourself for searching.
Don’t resist them, because that is their job.
When that happens, all you have to do is to comport yourself with great dignity and a sense of humor.
After my first encounter with SARS, my approach to them has always won me their respect.
Because they don’t know who you are, no security personnel will harass you at first sight.
But if you fumble and sell yourself cheaply, that might make you look like a suspect to them.
When they ask you to identify yourself, be bold to respond to them and make sure you’re not confrontational.
5. Have a good means of identification
When SARS meet you, the problem begins the moment they realize that you don’t have a proper means of identification.
To avoid their harassment, you’re advised to always walk around with your valid identification card. It could be your national ID card or driver license.
Be bold to tell them who you’re and make sure you give concise answers.
If you need to reach your bag or pocket for your ID card, ensure you alert them first. Otherwise, they might think you want to harm them and they act faster.
6. Be quick to send out a distress call
For whatever reason you’re arrested, be quick to ask people around you to get the details of the officers and help you reach out to your family for a follow up.
If possible, beg someone to accompany you to their station to ensure the arrest is properly reported and filed at the appropriate quarters.
When you get there, you can equally ask for an audience with the station officer or squadron leader for clarification on the arrest.
7. Don’t flaunt your riches
One of the easiest ways to avoid SARS harassment is by maintaining public decorum.
You don’t have to flaunt around because you are rich. That is immaturity and can even bring you a lot of troubles.
You might have a genuine source of income, may be through your blog or whatever other legitimate means.
That doesn’t mean the whole world should know about it.
Your safety is much more important than the paparazzi.
As everyone likes to milk you, it’s not only SARS that will aim at you. You could also invite armed robbers into your dear life.
Calling yourself some names on social media, might endanger your life.
When you have your money and make no noises about it, you’ll sleep and leave your doors unlocked.
8. Don’t hang out late at night
Whatever way you choose to enjoy your life, don’t stay late outside.
Living a reckless life, traveling from one joint to another, late at night, will make your name appear on the list of every security personnel in your area.
If they burst you in the night, it might be hard for you to reach out to your family for help.
9. Get a lawyer
As an entrepreneur, you need a lawyer.
But if you can’t afford to hire a full-time lawyer, try to befriend one or reunite with your old school mate who is now a lawyer.
Save his contact on your phone as “My Lawyer” or “Barrister”.
If SARS operatives arrest you illegally and find out that you have a lawyer’s contact, they’ll think twice before brutalizing you.
When the arrest is even illegal, note that every other thing that follows will also be illegal.
Expect them to seize your phone and look through it to find something to incriminate you.
They have no rights to do to search your phones but if you drag this with them when there is no backup, you’re endangering your life.
Be calm and find a means to get out first and get back to them in full force.
10. Always dress well
Do you remember Tuface’s song where he says:
That is the case with SARS.
If you don’t want them to harass you, all you have to do is to mind the way you dress in public.
You can’t dress like a Malian and expect SARS to treat you like a cleric.
When was SARS established in Nigeria?
SARS which means Special Anti-Robbery Squad, a unit under Nigeria Police Force (NPF) was established in 1992 by former police commissioner Simeon Danladi Midenda.
When a Nigerian Army Colonel, Col. Rindam was murdered by some police officers at a checkpoint in Lagos, a big crisis loomed.
The army dispatched their men into the streets of Lagos to retaliate the death of the colonel.
As a result of this, the Nigeria police withdrew its men from duties.
After two weeks that the security of Lagos was shut down, SARS was founded to replace police.
Consequent upon the rise of cyber-crimes, internet scams (Yahoo-Yahoo) and cultism in Nigerian universities, SARS gained more power in 2009.
They made several arrests, among, which many were illegal.
The majority of innocent young people were abducted and tortured, while some even lost their lives.
As SARS began to lose its major objectives, it became a political instrument for witch hunting the youths.
They targets people with dreadlocks, piercings, expensive cars and big smartphones. And gradually, that made the youths to lose their freedom to express themselves in public.
Does SARS have the rights to arrest, beat and detain Bloggers?
SARS has the power to detain, investigate and prosecute anyone involved in robbery, kidnapping, internet crimes and other criminal cases in Nigeria.
There are 14 units of the Force Criminal Investigation and Intelligence Department (FCIID) in Nigeria and SARS is one of them.
FCIID is the highest investigating arm of the police force in the country.
If you haven’t encountered SARS in your blogging journey before, you’re lucky.
SARS brutality is like a time bomb.
It explodes at different times in the life of every individual who makes money online, including bloggers.
As long as you use the internet, smartphones, laptops, and online payments in your business, you’re likely going to be arrested if you run into SARS.
Asking if SARS has the power to arrest, detain and torture bloggers, however, depends on the offence the blogger has committed.
So, without prejudice, no one can answer this question without probing further.
There is no law that says blogging is a crime and when SARS spots you they should arrest, beat and detain you.
But if you have committed a cyber related crime and you’re caught, they have the power to arrest you.
And if you attack them or resist arrest, it’s possible you get beaten.
There are better ways to deal with them.
You just have to do everything possible to get out of their custody first.
Conclusion on how to end SARS brutality
Knowing how to avoid SARS brutality in Nigeria shouldn’t be a problem anymore.
If you’re innocent, this guide offers 10 good ways to avoid being harassed by the operatives of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad.
Because Nigerian security system is malfunctioning, many things are not right.
And if you try to correct them as an individual, you might get the beating of your life.
In that circumstance, you have to report your encounter to the nearest police or use the following mobile telephone numbers to reach the IGP X-SQUAD or Public Compliant Rapid Response Unit (PCRRU) for help:
- CALLS: 0902 690 0729, 08078662130, 08174041000
- SMS: 0903 227 8905
- WHATSAPP: 0903 562 1377
PUBLIC COMPLAINT RAPID RESPONSE UNIT (PCRRU)
- CALLS: 08057000001
- CALLS: 08057000002
- SMS OR WHATSAPP: 08057000003
Never say this won’t work.
Your call might be the last to end SARS harassment in Nigeria.
Prepare yourself and prevent being the next victim.