A remarkable encounter with SARS.

I have decided to contribute to the piling outrage against SARS because of that ignoble spectacle displayed in Rivers State. A group of people with an incomprehensible motive had fanned out in solidarity with SARS. Well, this is Nigeria. And that makes it less astonishing and novel.

It was in Nigeria that a man allowed himself to be filmed as he overtried his lungs in defending Fulani Cattlemen after they raided a community and left swarms of dismembered corpses. It is still the same country where one malodorous Nkechi Bianze gloated over the coldblooded murder of a man and triumphantly justified it as an honourable sacrifice in the feminist revolution against men. Nkechi had fervid supporters who fired from all cylinders as they attempted to shield her from public outrage. In this farrago of eccentricities christend Nigeria, anything can find company, anything can find sympathy.

My encounter with SARS was not direct. It was vicarious as I stood horror-struck and watched them use a man with death-inflicting brutality. Believe me, it was just painful enough.

It was a hot afternoon. An implacable November sun came down unmercifully. I heard pain-packed screams and determined kicks. I was startled. On coming out I beheld a bloodied young man securely surrounded and being barbarously clubbed. He fell repeatedly and was picked on each occasion with meaner brutality and rougher usage. Their manifest intention was to immobilize him by breaking his two legs. They accomplished this in time by vigorously employing the butt of their guns.

Half-neutralized, he was carried in that pitious state and deposited in their vehicle, like a half-dead and useless man. I looked and saw other blood-soacked young men lying lifelessly in the vehicle in the attitude of unclaimed corpses.

I was curiously stirred to find out what their crime was. I had imagined that they robbed a bank after shooting many people. Or that they had assassinated the head of state. Or that they had committed an egregious and hideous act of terrorism. My mind roved from one dark crime to another. No less crime could make such crucifying usage justifiable. I was underwhelmed to learn that the young man only bought a stolen motorcycle and that the other corpses in their vehicle had sold him said motorcycle.

” They may not reach their station “, the bystander and my informer added with morbid enjoyment. Yes. That was not rare and had happened on countless occasions. In one of those recounted occasions, a man was arrested by men of the SARS on the charges of hawking and pollutely smoking India hemp. He was not lucky enough to reach their station. He was finished off along the way and his body flung off. His people did not care a morsel in looking for him. He was simply vaporized, like one of the victims of tranny in Orwell’s 1984. The poor fellow disappeared and even his place remembered him no more.

A lawyer friend of mine had told me a hilarious story of how he came very close to being made example of. He was a young lawyer of average means — one of those full-blooded young wigs who find it hard to manage their zeal. One unblessed morning he got a frantic call from parents who wept that their son had been gathered in by men of the SARS. He hurtled off to their station with the fearless confidence of an advocate and committed the fatal error of debating the merit of his client’s detention. He even had the gut to say that the detention was unlawful.

It met him without warning. He was trussed and indecorously jostled. You know how such treatment does not suit the huge dignity of a law man. The man in charge told him that his “English ” was futile and useless. And that if he continued to speak English he would exchange place with his client and that his own imprisonment would be as indefinite as ASUU strike. My friend looked both ways in whirling perplexity, adjusted his tie and took time to re-gather his fallen dignity. Perhaps, even an old man is allowed to flee from an angry cow. He stepped backwards and judicially slunk away.

SARS have no place in a free and democratic state. They are a negation of our most fundamental values. To them law and due process do not constitute a pinch of salt. They are just a collection of uniformed animals and never-do-wells used by politicians and our capitalist lords to cow the masses and intimidate their rivals.

These uniformed savages remind me of Bakassi boys–those devils that once visited Anambra state. In full public glare, Bakassi boys tried innocent men and sometimes women by ordeal and had them decapitated and burnt. Our people stood morbidly by, cheered and mocked the ghosts of their victims. May God find a place in his large heart to forgive sinners.

Now is the time for us to join the league of civilized peoples. This would begin when we totally scrap SARS and try all her personnel. SARS are not the only licenced violators of our rights. other departments of the Nigeria police are just as violative. While men of the SARS may be appropriately designated as torturers and assassins,officers of the other units of the Nigeria police are brazen-faced thieves.

Muhammadu Buhari have scarcely done a useful thing since he took office. Unless you think that dexterously inspecting a herd of cows is a praiseworthy administrative feat. How I wish now that he can depart from his do-nothing attitude and listen to the just outcry of Nigerians.

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