Tuesday, March 28, 2023

#EndSARS: Time to open all brutal squad’s cells for inspection: Amnesty International

The global rights body says focus should shift to justice for victims after today’s abolition of SARS.

• October 11, 2020
Amnesty International
Amnesty International (Photo Credit: @amnesty)

Amnesty International on Sunday asked federal authorities to immediately open all detention centres run by the police special anti-robbery squad for inspection by rights institutions. 

The global rights body’s comments came hours after Inspector-General Muhammed Adamu announced immediate proscription of the brutal police squad long accused of corruption and grievous rights violations. 

“Today’s announcement by the IGP disbanding the infamous SARS falls short of demands for accountability and justice for abuses committed by the unit and the police in general,” Osai Ojigho, Amnesty Nigeria’s lead, said in a statement to Peoples Gazette Sunday afternoon. “Disbanding SARS must be supported by addressing the underlying issues that allowed impunity to thrive.” 

Amnesty said steps should be taken to impose long-time change based on three key steps.

1. Immediate and unhindered access to SARS and other police detention centers by oversight bodies such as Police Service Commission, National Human Rights Commission, as well as lawyers and human rights defenders.

2. Immediate investigation and prosecution of all police officers who have been accused of grave human rights violations such as extra judicial executions, torture, and other ill-treatment.

3. A clear and concise timeline for the implementation of the reforms to end police atrocities is key to safeguarding trust between Nigerians and the authorities.

A spokesman for the police did not immediately return a request seeking comments about whether or not the SARS cells would be opened for external inspection.

The cells are believed to be holding children and innocent citizens.

Rights groups have also accused the outlawed squad of carrying out most of the extra-judicial killings linked to them in detention centres across the country.

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