#EndSARS: Massive Protests Rock Abuja, Lagos, Owerri and Benin
NEWSMAN, Abuja – Time and Time again, there has been a call to scrap the Nigeria Police Force Special anti- Robbery Squad (SARS).
Citizens lament that the police unit created to protect Nigerians has instead become a danger to society, torturing its victims with complete impunity while fomenting a toxic climate of fear and corruption.
According to a recent research by Amnesty International, victims of SARS harassment “are arrested and tortured until they either make a ‘confession’ or pay officers a bribe to be released”.
“Amnesty International has received reports and collected testimonies that some police officers in SARS regularly demand bribes, steal and extort money from criminal suspects and their families.
“Apart from demanding bribes, SARS officers are accused of stealing or confiscating property from relatives of detained suspects. Families of detained suspects told Amnesty International that SARS officers stole their cars or withdrew all the money from their bank accounts”, the report stated.
Although Spokesperson of the Nigeria Police Force, Frank Mba has reiterated that SARS, cannot be scrapped because of its potency in combating criminality and deadly criminal gangs in the country.
Mba advised Nigerians to take video recordings of SARS operatives who abuse their fundamental human rights “as long as it is safe to do so.
Following the excesses of it’s operatives, the Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, had banned SARS personnel from engaging in routine patrols, stop-and-search, mounting of roadblocks and traffic checks with immediate effect.
Emphasizing that the IGP and the Force were committed to reforming SARS, Mba said, “What we need to do is to reform SARS and make them responsive, responsible and work in accordance with laid down procedures. We need them to continue to respond to violent crimes. We need them to continue to respond to armed robberies. We need them to continue to respond to kidnappings.”
But Nigerians have refused to accept the “reform plans” as they have insisted on convincing the government to bring an end to the operations of SARS in the country, Hence multiple protests was held on Thursday Nationwide to press home the #EndSARS demand.
Human rights activists Aisha Yesufu, Omoyele Sowore, Deji Adeyanju among others led the Abuja #EndSARS Protest to the Police Headquarters Abuja, while Entertainers including Runtown, Falz, RudeBoy, Tiwa Savage etc were at the frontline of the Lagos Protest.