Pastor Wale Adenuga recounts his experience with SARS operatives

The ongoing protests by Nigerians nationwide against police brutality and the need for the government to disband the Special Anti Robbery Squad (SARS), a department of the Nigerian Police Force, has gathered many reactions so far. 

Nigerian gospel singer and pastor, Pastor Wale Adenuga, has lent his voice to the cause of the protesters. He made his opinion known on Instagram. This was what he has to say:

"Today's burgeoning issue is #endsars. Anyone who moves around in Nigeria, via a bike, bus or in their own personal car would have been a victim of police harassment. Most end nicely sometimes with a handshake with a naira note in between both hands. Some end really bad. People injured in some cases and in others lives lost. People harassed because of how they look or work tools like smartphones or laptops they have in their possession.

"Many years ago, while hosting a senior friend of mine in Nigeria, Bob Fitts, we were searched and harassed at Maryland roundabout. Guns pointed. Especially when they saw his American passport and some dollars. Up till now, Bob and I still relieve that experience and have a chuckle. Of course, we were scared that night."

But here's the thing the issues with the police are far more than ending SARS.

"There's a serious systemic issue. Over 5 years ago, I recall how a pastor friend of mine in Kaduna had his church donate 100 mattresses to the police college because new recruits were sleeping on the grass. Pray tell, when recruits who go through this kind of conditioning graduate and are handed a gun, how do you think they will behave?

"When I was pastoring, my church was usually the first port of call for a newly assigned DPO because of our local assemblys commitment to partnering with the local police authority in Aguda, Surulere. It was then I knew that these officers buy their uniforms and boots. I would have imagined that these things were budgeted for. But then, what do I know?

"Folks, think of the systemic corruption in our land. Think of the people without guns and how far theyve plundered this land. Then now think of when people have guns. Draw your conclusions.

"Grateful to everyone who has lifted up their voice in the last few days against police brutality. But trust me, we will still be on this same page months from now unless we reach deeper and sustain a demand for better governance and ensure that we put our best eleven forward and not settle for the #boosit (a la @cobhamsasuquo and @falzthebahdguy) of collecting bread, noodles, recharge cards and rice when its time vote.

"On this note, it seems clear to all and sundry that Nigerian citizens are about fed up, and are bent on seeing change effected. Hopefully, the leaders will listen. God is with us. Amen!"

The response of Pastor Wale Adenuga comes in the heat of nationwide protests against police brutality. These protests have been backed by hash tags such as #EndSARS, #SARSMUSTGO, #SARSMUSTEND, #EndPoliceBrutality, among others. 

It will be recalled that Senior Pastor of Daystar Christian Center, Sam Adeyemi, has lent his voice continuously to the plight of the youths who have been brutalized by SARS officials. He supports the youths in their protests and demands that the government see to their demands. More so, he has spoken vehemently against police brutality. 

Nigerians have a right to live peacefully in their nation. SARS is fast becoming a menace that needs to be curbed; says the Nigerian youth. Formerly, people believed that SARS operatives are only after people with tattoos and dreads. However, their activities have gone beyond that. Well meaning Nigerians have been affected by this menace. Hence, they are speaking up diligently. Pastor Nathaniel Bassey has also narrated his encounter with SARS operatives and how he was made to part away with some cash.

There have been assumptions from many quarters that these protesters will get tired very soon. However, it seems like they are not getting tired any time soon. This is because there have been an increase in the states joining in the protests. The people are also turning up in large numbers. Obviously, they are tired of being humiliated in their own land. 

This protest is an eye opener to who the youths really are in this country. They are not cowards or lazy as some persons assume. The youths are hardworking people who believe in due process. However, they are tired of being taken for granted.

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