The Alliance for Survival of COVID-19 and Beyond (ASCAB) led by Mr. Femi Falana, has stated that the Inspector General of Police (IGP) Mohammed Adamu, is not sincere in his latest ban of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad, SARS.
The group in a statement issued on Tuesday which was signed by its Chairman, Mr Femi Falana, SAN, said it was not the first time the police issued such orders banning the squad, noting that each time, the repressive operatives returned to the streets to torment the people.
In the statement, the group noted that gross violations of human rights were linked to SARS and that a change of structure without fundamental change of the operatives of the structure would soon make the problems recur.
“The police high command has banned SARS several times. It has become a ritual. But SARS continues to operate under different names or structure. What we see is like removing sour wine and putting it in the same old, rusty bottles. Nothing remarkable has changed in the police command structure that aids all forms of repression and extra-judicial killings,” ASCAB said.
The group added that; “Following public outcry in 2018 against indiscriminate arrests and detention, extortion and extrajudicial killings as well as other horrendous human rights abuse perpetrated by operatives of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad, SARS, the Federal Government responded by setting up the Presidential panel of inquiry to investigate all complaints of human rights abuse.”
ASCAB noted that many Nigerians submitted reports and memoranda and gave clear evidence of police abuse but regretted that the recommendations were yet to be implemented in 2020.
The group said some of the recommendations made included the dismissal of 37 police officers from the force and the prosecution of 24 others, investigation of 22 officers involved in the violation of human rights of innocent citizens, payment of compensation of various sums in 45 complaints and tender of public apologies in five complaints and compliance with court orders in five matters.
Other recommendations were the setting up of State and local government police and renaming of SARS to Anti-Robbery Section (ARS) which should operate under the intelligence unit of the police force.
The group lamented that though recommendations were accepted by President Muhammadu Buhari on June 3, 2019, nothing has been done since then.
‘’The Inspector-General of Police and the Solicitor-General of the Federation/Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Justice were mandated to engage the National Human Rights Commission, NHRC, for a strategy of implementation within three months.
“To declare a ban on SARS again is nothing but policy somersault. It does not show effective leadership neither does it portray the police authority as consistent,” ASCAB said.