As President Buhari continues his culture of silence following the #endsars protests all over the country, only speaking to the masses through a recording that lasted less than two minutes, the Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu yielded to public yearnings on Sunday and disbanded the murderous and much loathed Special Anti-Robbery Squad. The sincerity of the public directives by the IGP scrapping the unit would be seen in the coming days with the haste with which they set up SWAT.

NEPA was so terrible they changed its name to PHCN. PHCN is now more terrible than no one knows where to go from here. No other person than the young people understand this. They will be the last generation of Nigerians to be toyed with by the civil war generation and those who came after them.

SARS, by all its doings, bagged for itself, the notoriety and penchant for killing and maiming young Nigerians for decades for the mere facts that they are alive. These crimes committed in police uniforms and the quest for investigation and justice have always been ignored by the police command – major accomplices in the killing of Nigerians, and the heavily burdened government in general, hence the squad carried out its activities with gusto.

Technology has made it easier for their criminal activities to be seen not just by Nigerians but by the rest of the world. They have resisted the official deployment of technology to police the country. Rather, they still rely on the crude, colonial method handed over to them some 90 years ago that has been jettisoned by every other serious country hoping to tackle crime. For a fact, the colonial police were set up to whip locals into line and punish dissenters. After independence, our new colonizers, the politicians used the police to intimidate the citizens and rig elections, then asked them to go and collect their salaries from the same citizens they have brutalized using the guns that the politicians bought for them. Their latest activity in Ughelli, Delta State two weeks ago where a man was allegedly shot and his Lexus SUV stolen would become the nail in their coffin.

Questions have been asked as to whether top police officers benefit from the criminal activities of these murderous officers; if they get remittance from these officers who hunt young Nigerians day and night to extort or kill those who refused to pay, the reason they allowed the unit to turn into that which it was set up to eradicate. The answer is as bright as the day. While hundreds of Nigerians are killed every year by SARS operatives and other trigger-happy officers, a few of these killer-officers are standing trial for their crimes. This and others are the reasons the youths have decided to say NO to being hunted like wild animals and killed in their own country by police officers employed with task payers’ money to protect them.

The protests have revealed some uncomfortable facts: One is that Nigeria has no leadership, just people hanging in the corridors of power stealing what is meant for the rest of us. That was why Buhari laughed when the governor of Lagos State presented the situation reports to him. Now, why did Buhari laugh? Your answer is as good as mine. The second fact is that there is no leadership in the police and so lines of command have been broken with orders made at the top not obeyed at the last chain of command.

There is no country that practices federalism as Nigeria claims to be practicing that still runs unitary policing system. It has not worked anywhere and won’t work in Nigeria. We are only postponing the doomsday. Nigeria need not one police chief but 37 police chiefs. As the youths continue to agitate for the end of police brutality, let the elders restructure the country.

The young people who filed out on the streets have had enough of the killings, the maiming, the fears of being victimized for looking successful, for dressing the way they liked and for being alive. They are not asking the government for stable electricity or good health facility like their peers in the rest of the world but a chance to be alive. But with the success that they have recorded and the international embarrassment their agitations for the scrapping of the killer-police unit has brought the Nigerian government, they have now understood the power that they have and henceforth will demand more.

Every attempt employed by the Buhari’s government to break the protest came to nought. Settling of protests are not done in offices but on the streets. Buhari has failed to meet the protesters on the streets to negotiate his own safety. They have employed different methods to break the spirit of the protests; Dangote and Emefiele of the CBN have all called protest leaders in a zoom meeting; the ASUU issue that has been abandoned with the minister of state for education telling striking ASUU members to go and farm has all of a sudden become serious with government calling for negotiations; NYSC orientation camps have now been reopened while they are paying hoodlums as a last resort to end the protests.

The protests united Nigerian youths across political and ethnic divides. It didn’t matter if you were a Christian or a Muslim, and this understanding that religious and ethnic affiliation do not matter in issues of bad governance is the greatest fear the Nigerian ruling class has. The idle hands that Buhari’s terrible and inhumane economic policies created will become his doom. Millions have been donated for the protests and unlike the government which steals everything, daily accounts are given; those who were arrested got swift legal representation and were released; the ones who were injured had their hospital bills paid, food are paid for while celebrities entertain. The youths are doing things differently with greater coordination. I tell you, there is hope and we know where our problems are.

The decision of the IGP to transfer thousands of men of SARS into other units without first undergoing compulsory psychiatric and psychological evaluations would only have made them pollute those police units and create a room for them to embark on their illegal activities afresh. Now that those disbanded men and women of SARS have been ordered to be reformed and re-oriented before they’re transferred into the everyday police units, does Nigeria have the capacity to do that?

Make no mistakes about it, police brutalities will not end in Nigeria unless the police are reformed from head to toe, that is, from the IGP to the least ranked officer. The reforms will include making their barracks look like where humans and not animals live, and ensuring those police units have enough money for their operations, including investigations and routine patrol. The average police officer needs to be paid enough. Nigeria is only getting what it paid for. If you give a man a gun but pays him less than 60, 000 a month in a country where inflation is in double digits and rises every minute, you are only telling him to use the gun to rob innocent citizens. Therefore, the end is not in sight of instances where police officers snuff life out of the citizens without repercussion.

The future belongs to the youths and only they can save Nigeria. SARS MUST GO