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Youths protest SARS brutality, extortion, extra-judicial killings

Some youths yesterday protested against the alleged brutality and extra-judicial killings by operatives of the Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad (FSARS) at Ikeja, Lagos. The youth said the protest would hold for three days across Lagos State. The protesters, carrying placards with various inscriptions, marched to the Lagos State Police Command Headquarters, Ikeja, through the Computer Village, Under Bridge. Some of the inscriptions on the placards read: “Protect not exploit,” “Nigeria police, stop killing us,” and “Say no to brutal injustice,” among others. In a petition addressed to the Inspector- General of Police (IG), Mohammed Adamu, the protesters demanded the “total disbandment” of FSARS/SARS.

The letter entitled: “Petition against the activities of SARS,” was also copied the Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Hakeem Odumosu. It reads in part: “In spite of several reforms announced by the Inspector-General of Police, cases of abuse of citizens by operatives of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad have increased without any steps taken by the high command of the Nigeria Police Force to address the fundamental problem of impunity of operatives of SARS. “While we continue to witness the unpleasant consequences of the crime-fighting strategy of the force that promotes extrajudicial and extra-legal measures, extortion for self-enrichment and lawlessness, the non-adherence to the prescription of the law poses greater consequences for ordinary citizens who are the victims of the brutality of SARS.

“We hereby demand total disbandment of SARS and the identification of cases of extra-judicial execution, torture, and illtreatment that have caused death or severe injuries to be subjected to independent, prompt, impartial, and thorough investigation, and officers reasonably suspected of criminal responsibility be brought to justice.” The leader of the protesters, Kemi Adebayo, said cases of abuse of citizens by operatives of SARS had increased without any steps taken by the police hierarchy to address the issues.

She said: “We, therefore, demand the total disbandment of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad as for Nigeria youths to have peace.” Meanwhile, the Police Service Commission said henceforth it would closely monitor the activities of officers and would not hesitate to punish deviants who might want to continue in their old habits. The PSC spokesperson, Mr. Ani Ikechukwu, said the commission had the constitutional mandate to discipline, dismiss and exercise disciplinary control over officers in the Nigeria Police Force except the Inspector General of Police.

He said: “The commission wishes to invite Nigerians to take advantage of its communication platforms to send complaints on any police officer found to be compromising on his/her rule of engagement to 07034072677 or 07034072676.”

 

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