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#EndSARS: Senate demands arrest, prosecution of security personnel involved in extrajudicial killings

NEWSMAN, Abuja – Recently, there have been lots of Social media reports about brutality unleashed upon youths by officers of the Special Anti-Robbery Response Squad (SARS), hence #EndSARS has been trending on Twitter lately.

Nigeria, despite being a party to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, the Convention on the Rights of the Child, and the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, still records the unabated brutality of Security operatives.

Senator Oluremi Tinubu (APC Lagos Central), while speaking at the Senate Plenary on Wednesday lamented that “Nigerian youth can no longer move freely for fear that they will be profiled and accused of being ‘yahoo boys’ or fraudsters, merely because they look good, own laptops, iPhones, nice looking cars, or profiled for having dreadlocks and certain hairstyles”

“With more Nigerian youths being involved in software development, fintech and doing more remote jobs in ICT, profiling by Policemen is a major problem. SARS operations have degenerated into intimidation, harassment and extortion of innocent Nigerians”, She said.

Despite assurances by the Inspector-General of Police in 2015 and 2017 that there would be reform of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad, Nigerians are yet to witness the reform.

As Part of efforts to check the culture of arbitrariness and brutality of Security Operatives on Nigerians, Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, has declared that any security Personnel involved in the killing of innocent citizens should be arrested and prosecuted.

“Anybody in SARS or any security agency that commits excesses should be prosecuted. The law should take its full course. It is not enough to dismiss them from service, what does the law say if he kills someone? This is not acceptable. In fact, it makes Nigeria like some of our colleagues have said, a laughing stock”, Lawan said.

He added that “We have the jurisdiction and constitutional mandate to review the laws governing the operations or establishment of these agencies. Scrapping of agencies might not be the right thing to do. Rule of law should be the guiding principle. If anyone does the wrong thing, they must be prepared to face the consequences”.

Accordingly, the Senate during plenary mandated its Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters to investigate human rights abuses by Nigerian Security agencies.

The upper chamber, while urging the various security agencies to establish hotlines to enable Nigerians report abuses by their agents, called for the establishment of a Special Bureau Unit that monitors the conducts of its officers, arrests and charges erring ones.

It also mandated the Committees on Police Affairs, and Judiciary and Human Rights to investigate allegations of extrajudicial executions and make recommendations for reparation.

The Senate while mandating the Committee on Police Affairs to organize a stakeholders’ meeting to investigate implementation of the Nigeria Police Trust Fund Act, 2019, urged the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, to review the objectives behind the establishment of the tactical squads with a view to permanently restricting their interference in daily activities of Nigerians.

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