President Muhammadu Buhari: urged to bring erring police officers to justice
Amnesty International has called on the Federal Government to investigate and initiate prosecution of police officers allegedly involved in violations of human rights in the country
This call is coming on the heels of the ban last weekend by the Inspector General of Police (IGP) Mohammed Adamu, of the Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad (FSARS) and other tactical squads from carrying out stop-and-search operations and mounting roadblocks following accusations of human rights abuses.
The IGP said in a statement on Sunday that FSARS) and other tactical squads must stop such operations, including traffic checks, “with immediate effect.”
Amnesty International Nigeria in a statement issued by its Director Osai Ojigho, and made available to SummitNews, called on President Mohammed Buhari, to use the opportunity offered by the ban to bring to justice police officers involved in the violation of human rights.
The statement read in part: “Last weekend, the Nigerian police announced yet another ban on routine patrols by SARS and other tactical squads of the Nigerian police, the fourth such ban in four years, amid growing anger over harassment and abuse by officers.
“The Minister of Police Affairs has also announced an investigation into infractions by the police unit.
“This is yet another lame attempt to rein in this unit of the Nigerian police which is notorious for the widespread torture and other ill-treatment of Nigerians.
“We have seen from bitter experience that past investigations into violations were either never carried out or marred by irregularities.
“To date, the Nigerian authorities have yet to show a genuine commitment to ending the lawless activities of SARS,”.
“Such abuses will only be prevented when SARS officers are held to account for their actions and face disciplinary or criminal punishment if they are found to be responsible for human rights violations.
“In August 2018, the government set up a judicial commission of inquiry to investigate the activities of SARS and make recommendations for reform.
“However, the commission’s report has yet to be made public almost two years after the panel submitted its findings to the government.
The current collective outrage of Nigerians over atrocities by SARS provides another opportunity for the Nigerian authorities to end police brutality and all form of human rights violations by the police.”
According to the statement, “Amnesty International is again calling on the Nigerian government to seize this moment to demonstrate the country’s commitment to human rights and fulfill its obligation of holding the police to account.
“The government must empower oversight bodies, including the Police Service Commission, Committee against Torture and the National Human Rights Commission to investigate and initiate prosecution of police officers, who are involved in the violation of human rights.
“The authorities have an obligation to protect Nigerians and bring to justice those who violate their human rights. Unless the authorities follow through with their promises to reform SARS and end the frequent extortion and ill-treatment of Nigerians, their empty words will be just that,” the statement concluded.