A member of the House of Representatives, Rep. Wole Oke (PDP-Osun) says mere change of name of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) to Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) squad would not end Police brutality against the citizens.
Oke made the observation in a statement he issued on Wednesday in Abuja while reacting to the initiative.
Oke who represents Obokun/Oriade Federal Constituency of Osun pointed out that police brutality against citizens was not only rooted in SARS or FSARS but in the entire policing system.
Oke, who is also the Chairman, House Committee on Public Accounts, however, stated that both the Federal Government and the Police authorities should take a deep look into the discipline and welfare of the personnel of the force.
“Police personnel must be earning a living wage, increase their salary so that they are adequately compensated for protecting lives and property of citizens, give them decent accommodation and adequate medical care
“A situation where other Para-military personnel earn more than the police should be discouraged; an average police officer works more than a military personnel, yet underpaid.
“The Police should be removed from the Pension contribution scheme just like the Military and other Security Services Community or in the alternative the Federal Government should bear the cost of their own contributions to the scheme.
“Budgetary allocation to the Police Force from the Headquarters to the Divisional levels should be implemented to the latter.
“A Policeman should live in a decent accommodation, have access to sound medical care, good mode of transportation, appear decent and in good uniform to be provided by the government.
“There must be subsidy for the education of at least two children and a maximum of four children.
“If the government can do all these things, we will have a committed and disciplined Police Force of our choice; SARS or SWAT is just an appellation,” he said.
The lawmaker commended the nation’s Youth and other Nigerians who were in the forefront of the #EndSARS campaign for their courage and patriotism.
He, however, appealed to those still protesting on the streets not to be violent just as he urged the police to avoid manhandling protesters.
According to him, the protesters are only exercising their constitutional rights and should not be subjected to any form of inhuman treatment.