Nigerian Guild of Investigative Journalists (NGIJ) has faulted the establishment of the Special Weapon And Tactics Team (SWAT) as a replacement of the Special Anti-robbery squad (SARS) which was disbanded recently as a response to the massive protests by Nigerian youths against the brutality and injustice experienced in the hands of operatives.
This was contained in a statement jointly signed by the National President and Secretary of the Guild, Ayoyemi Mojoyinola and Abdulrahman Aliagan respectively.
Statement observed that the new establishment may be seen as a sign of insensitivity and a misplacement of priority on the part of police authorities, pointing out that what needs to be done at the moment is a complete reform of the Nigerian police force, not creation of a new arm of the Force.
The Guild noted further that the Nigerian youths have shown great concerns and displeasure in the operation of the entire police force, as records of brutality, maltreatment, unnecessary killings have marred the efficiency and achievement of the current Inspector General of Police, hence, the need for the IGP to ensure that nothing of such occurs again.
It added that the IGP should also go after officers who are culprits of these alleged acts of brutality against citizens.
According to the statement, SWAT might have been created with good intentions, given the belief that there will be no form of unnecessary oppression, indiscriminate and illegal checking of mobile phones, profiling of citizens, as ordered by the Inspector General of Police, but creating it at this time is wrong timing as emotions are still high.
“This is not a time to create SWAT, What the Nigerian police needs now is complete reform, that is the way to go for the Force.
“What we should be talking about now is retraining police officers, making them go through courses that will enlighten them morally and psychologically, increase in their salaries and allowances, not creating another arm that will come into the already failing policing system.
“Let them be reformed, after this has been done, we can now talk about SWAT, the duties of SWAT is needed but not at this time, what we need now is Police reformation.”
The guild however, appreciated President Muhammadu Buhari and the IGP, Mohammed Adamu for listening to the demands of the youths.
It urged protesters to be as peaceful as possible in making their demands.