Survey Findings: Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) #ENDSARS

Acknowledgement

We appreciate all those who gave of their precious time to participate in the survey that led to this report.

 

Executive Summary

One of the major challenges that negates the development of democratic and civil liberty in Nigeria is the lack of reliable data, and of more concern, the inability of our government to engage the people and get their buy-in in issues of national security and development. This was the case in the recent nationwide ‘End SARS’ campaign that demands an end to the Special Anti-robbery Squad (SARS), established as a special unit in Criminal Investigation and Intelligence Department (CIID) of the Police.

The debate on the relevance of SARS in Nigeria was intensified following alleged criminalities of SARS officers such as trampling on fundamental human right and promoting bribery and corruption in the course of discharging their duties. While some Nigerians started trending the #EndSARS hashtag to draw attention to the end of SARS, supporters of the SARS too staged a counter-campaign which calls for the retention of the squad.

Information about the perception of people towards the operations or existence of SARS is vital for civil liberty in Nigeria, and will enable government to make an informed decision about how best to handle this sensitive matter.

In recognition of the impacts of such sensitive issue towards achieving the civil liberty and sustainable development in Nigeria, CSR-in-Action Advocacy – a sustainability and governance focused non-profit for collective social consciousness in Nigeria – therefore, conducted a survey to gauge the perception of Nigerians towards the existence of SARS in Nigeria. Through this report, CSR-in-Action Advocacy thus provides insightful information about the opinions of the people.

Objectives

Our main objectives for conducting this survey were to:

  • gauge the response of Nigerians towards the existence of SARS in Nigeria.
  • provide honest feedback from the citizenry that would enable the government and other concerned stakeholders to make informed decisions toward the activities of SARS. 

Background

The campaign against the activities of the Special Anti-robbery Squad (SARS) in Nigerian Police has drawn the attention of the international community since late 2017. Thousands of Nigerians in different parts of the country took to major streets to protest for and against calls to scrap the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) in Nigerian Police.

Those who demand an end for the operations of SARS stated that the conduct and operations of SARS had sent several Nigerians to their early graves, adding that operatives of the squad were the most corrupt in the Police Force and have challenged civil liberty in Nigeria.

According to the Vanguard Newspaper, while protesters in Rivers State, under the platform of the Grassroots Development Initiative, called for the outright scraping of the squad, hinging their position on the killings, kidnappings and what they described as electoral fraud perpetrated by the unit in the state, their counterparts in Anambra, Ogun and the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Abuja, kicked against the call.

To find a clear path out of this dilemma and make informed decisions, CSR-in-Action understands that it is pertinent to seek the opinion of the general populace and report the findings.

Methodology

Data collection method: Primary data was collected exclusively for the purpose of this survey, to ensure a high degree of accuracy and objectivity in comparing perceptions of Nigerians towards 3 different questions.

Instrument for data collection: Online survey link was sent to about 17,000 people in our email newsletter database and through Twitter platform, and the poll lasted for two weeks period before the link was closed.

 

A Report of Survey Findings

This survey is a single question survey undertaken to determine citizenry opinion of the operations of the Special Anti-robbery Squad (SARS). Findings of this survey reflect different perceptions of the respondents towards the issue.

From the findings of this survey, 65% of the 92 respondents agreed that government should dissolve the operations of SARS in Nigeria, 25% suggested that it should be rehabilitated, while 8% were of the opinion that SARS should not be dissolved.

The 65% ‘Yes’ response represents what the majority of citizens want from their government, and implies that activities of the SARS are no longer being appreciated in the polity.

However, if 26% of respondents believe that the activities of SARS can be rehabilitated to serve the needs of the nation, it is pertinent that more investigation should be conducted on a dicey matter that may engender our civil liberty or improve the security of lives and properties.

A Conclusion

Every side of this argument may have some potential traits needed to improve civil liberty and security in Nigeria. This implies that we may need a gradual process of transformation and consistent sifting of the grains from the chaffs, rather than a rash, and anarchical approach of outright throwing away the baby and the bathwater.

With adequate funding, training, and monitoring, many SARS officers would be better equipped and motivated to discharge their duties professionally in protecting lives and properties.

A consideration of the opinion of the people, as represented in this survey, will be pivotal to sustaining Nigeria’s democracy and civil liberty.

 



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