Amnesty International demands immediate scrapping of SARS

Posted by News Express | 2 April 2019 | 914 times

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 Amnesty International is demanding Monday the immediate scrapping of a police special crime unit because of rights violations and corruption.

Criticism came as reports emerged of the death late Sunday of Kolade Johnson from a “stray” bullet allegedly fired by an officer of the Special Anti Robbery Squad, or SARS.

Kolade was reportedly going to watch a football match at a public viewing center when the bullet hit him.

His death triggered fierce online protests across Nigeria. The hashtags #EndSARS and #EndPoliceBrutality has been the top trending topics across the country.

Amnesty International said in a statement Monday that Kolade's death resulted from government's failure to reform the squad and end its brutality.

“SARS is a police unit created to protect the people; instead it has become a danger to society, torturing its victims with complete impunity while fomenting a toxic climate of fear and corruption,” the rights body said.

“Our research since 2016 uncovered a pattern of ruthless human rights violations by SARS, where victims are arrested and tortured until they either make a ‘confession’ or pay officers a bribe to be released.”

Joe Abbah, a prominent public affairs analyst, said the Nigerian government has a duty to reform the police squad and end its alleged arbitrariness.

“The big crime is the police harassing and killing the innocent youth they are paid to protect, and nobody stopping them,” he said.

Police have yet to comment on the development, although officials who asked not to be named said police hierarchies were due to meet on the killing later Monday.

Citizens are asking the police to name the officer who shot Kolade.

Nigerian government recently ordered a review of the squad's activities but no public announcement has been made on the outcome of the alleged reforms. (Anadolu)


Source: News Express

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