The #EndSARS protests in different parts of Nigeria is mainly targeted at the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration and not the police, former Zamfara senator, Kabiru Marafa, has said.
Mr Marafa stated this in a statement sent PREMIUM TIMES on Monday where he called on Mr Buhari to be vigilant in the face of the demonstrations.
There have been massive protests in parts of the country over the past 72 hours with Nigerians calling for the scrapping of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), a unit of the police.
The demonstrations were triggered by illegal arrests, detention, extortion as well as extrajudicial killings of innocent Nigerians by officers of the squad.
Although the Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, announced the dissolution of SARS, the protests are still on.
Nigerians, unsatisfied with the dissolution of the police unit, are demanding a complete ban on the unit, prosecution of officers involved in the illegal acts as well as release of arrested protesters.
According to Amnesty International, ten protesters have been killed by the police as the protests turned violent in some states.
Peaceful protests, bigger problems
In his statement, Mr Marafa urged the president to be wary of those who seek to “do away with this government” as the protests could lead to bigger problems.
“The president needs to shine his eyes and be very careful. The president may be playing into the hands of his enemies. My take is that some people are eager to do away with this government by anyhow.
“By staging this protest to call for the disbandment of the SARS, I’m afraid we may be descending into greater problems, especially where I come from. At the end, the same people will come out to accuse the government of failing from protecting the lives of the citizens.
“So, I think there is a need for all of us to be very careful in some of the decisions we take. I come from Zamfara State and I have fair knowledge of what we are going through now. I also know what our neighbours in Katsina, Sokoto states are going through.”
The former lawmaker who said he is also against police brutality, warned protesters to be careful in their demands of the dissolution of “a whole unit, that is responsible for fighting serious crimes.”
For Mr Marafa, if there are no protests against the killings in the North, then there is a motive behind the nationwide protest against SARS.
“I cannot see the reason why people; in a village of not more than 3,000 people, more than 200 people were killed within two hours and this thing is going on and on.
“Nobody stages a protest against it. Questions are not being asked as to why these people are being killed; on why people are being abducted and on why ransoms are being paid every day.
“But because of some misguided actions of a few SARS operatives, you now staged a nationwide protest, calling for dissolution of SARS. We need to be very careful. The president needs to shine his eyes and look at these things beyond what these people are doing,” he said.
“Some people, maybe are unhappy with this government and maybe they want to ignite a problem from somewhere,” he said.
“One thing may lead to the other, before you know it, it will become a national problem. Can we live without SARS, in one form or the other? It is not possible.
“The essence of government is about protection of lives and properties. Instead of strengthening the security agencies, look at where we need to improve, you are calling for the disbandment.”