By G9ija

The Arewa Youths Consultative Forum, AYCF, has kicked against the ongoing protest against police harassment, brutality, and extrajudicial killings in the country especially by Special Robbery Squad unit of the Nigeria Police Force widely known as, SARS.

In a statement issued on Saturday by its National President, Yerima Shettima, the group claimed that the ongoing protests are being sponsored by fraudsters popularly known as Yahoo Yahoo boys, armed robbers and thugs.

Shettima further alleged in the statement that some of the protests were aimed at preparing grounds for kidnapping, robbery and other social vices stating further that it was not persuaded by the new narrative and the rented-crowd street protests that SARS should be banned.

Shettima said: “We have observed, as a group, the loud calls for the total ban on SARS through politically-motivated protests in some parts of the country, notably Lagos State.

“Much as we agree that the Nigeria Police, like all other agencies of the Federal Government could have a few black sheep in the system, it is not as bad as warranting outright ban.

“We are not, at all, persuaded by the new narrative and the rented-crowd street protests that SARS should be banned. We therefore declare as follows:

“It is already on record that Nigeria needs another round of recruitment in order to increase the number of officers and men of the Nigeria Police Force to achieve the desired decrease in the growing incidence of dangerous crimes. Clearly, the nation needs additional, well-trained police personnel, like the hardworking Inspector-General of Police has rightly observed on a number of occasions.

“A close look at the types of persons masquerading as protesters would reveal that they are there to protect the hidden interests of high-profile fraudsters, aka Yahoo Boys, thugs, street urchins and their collaborators. You would hardly see any prominent or respected Nigerian in the forefront of those arrangee protests. We are therefore disappointed that some people are hiding behind these suspicious protests to stampede either the IG of Police or the Federal Government into taking a rash decision that could make Nigeria lower its guard, to enable the prepare promoters new grounds for urban crimes, like armed robbery, kidnapping and allied crimes to flourish. This will have dire consequences for the Nigerian people.

“We wish to also indicate that it is even more dangerous to allow the culture of young people running robbery ring, kidnapping or even a Yahoo Boys cartel, swindling people of millions of naira, while kidnappers demand unthinkable amounts of money in ransom or maiming their captives; while armed robbers continue with their killings.

“It is a smear on decorum to call for the weakening of any of the nation’s law enforcement agencies, much less the police, as robbers, kidnappers and Yahoo Boys dominate the country’s urban centres and do as they please. No sane society would take kindly to this economic and general security threat, no matter the size of arrangee protests. It is so obvious that the hidden agenda of the promoters of these protests is whittling down the authority of a formidable, result-oriented unit of the Nigeria Police Force,” he concluded.