Senator Uba Sani representing Kaduna Central Senatorial District has lamented the violation of the rights of Nigerians by the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) of the Nigeria Police Force (NPF).
This is coming following social media outrage by Nigerians calling for the scrapping of the squad with the hashtags #EndSARS #EndSARSBrutality #ReformPoliceNG.
Below is the statement by the Distinguished Senator;
THE SARS MENACE MUST END NOW
For two decades now, the Special Anti-Robbery Squad of the Nigeria Police has gained notoriety for flagrant violation of the rights of Nigerians. Evidence abound of the horrors they have visited on fellow citizens in cities and on back roads, in private residences, in front of hotels, on neighbourhood streets, in the dark of the night and the light of the day.
For instance, on 6th April 2020, five persons were allegedly killed at Trikania in Sabongari Nasarawa under Chikun Local Government Area of Kaduna State during a clash between youths and police enforcing the stay-at-home order in the state over the Coronavirus outbreak. SARS officers were said to have opened fire on the angry mob upon arrival in an attempt to disperse them, leading to the death of five persons. On 28th March, 2019, a commercial motorcyclist, Ademola Moshood, was reportedly shot dead by a SARS policeman near his Surulere, Lagos residence when he allegedly refused to part with the sum of N200 as bribe.
According to a report titled, ‘Time to End Impunity,’ released on 25th June, 2020, Amnesty International documented at least 82 cases of torture, ill-treatment, and extra-judicial executions by SARS between January 2017 and May 2020. The victims are predominantly males between the ages of 18 and 35, from low-income backgrounds and vulnerable groups.
These are just a few in a long list of horrific atrocities committed by SARS. The most worrisome is that they have allegedly been heavily involved in civil matters. All you need do is to “hire” them to even scores with a person you are in dispute with for a fee. In the course of such illegal operations lives and property have been lost. It has been a reign of impunity. They have become one of the most hated security outfits in Nigeria.
Efforts were made in the past to reform SARS but to no avail. It would seem that the security outfit is deeply rotten. It requires a surgical operation for it to become an outfit for the protection of Nigerians. It must be effectively repositioned for it to check the menace of armed robbery. The constitutional responsibility of the Nigeria Police Force is to serve and protect the citizens. We cannot allow officers to continue to abuse citizens through brutality, harassment, extortion and intimidation. The disproportionate use of force against the Nigerian masses by SARS officers is unacceptable and a blatant disregard for human rights and the rule of law.
It is heart warming that our dear Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo and the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu have not only condemned the latest SARS outrage but have taken firm measures to curtail their excesses. I urge the Federal Government and in particular the Police Authorities to ensure that the new measures are fully implemented and sustained. If SARS is not amenable to reform it should be scrapped. A force for the protection of our people cannot turn into an oppressive force and be maintained at tax payers expense.
I stand with Nigerians who have broken the silence and are courageously speaking up against the alleged atrocities of SARS operatives. I urge you to remain steadfast and unwavering in drawing attention to the abridgement of the fundamental rights and freedoms of our people by SARS operatives. I am ready and willing to offer assistance in respect of legal redress for victims. All measures must be taken to check the growing menace of SARS.
I will continue to vigorously advocate for reform of the Nigeria Police Force and adequate funding for it to enable it effectively discharge its responsibility of law enforcement in Nigeria. Effective mechanisms must be put in place to hold the Nigeria Police Force accountable for unlawful acts committed against citizens. The reign of impunity must end NOW.
For those who have lost their loved ones as a result of the arbitrary and illegal acts of SARS officers, I would like to convey my sincere condolences. My thoughts and prayers are with you.
Senator Uba Sani (Kaduna Central)