Senate probes SARS over alleged human rights abuses

Scene of the police brutality in Ikorodu

The Senate has ordered its ad hoc committee on security to investigate the allegations of human rights abuse by operatives of the Police Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS).

This follows a motion raised by senator Isa Misau who called for urgent intervention of lawmakers before the situation gets out of hand.

The group in a statement by its president, comrade Abdulsalam Mohammed Kazeem issued in Kaduna said, "Those calling for the abolish of SARS should book a date with history and have a critical look inward on the role SARS has played in reducing crime rate to the bearest minimum nationwide".

He noted that, according to the Police Act and regulation, the Force Criminal Investigation and Intelligence Department (Force CID) was the highest investigative arm of the Nigerian Police and that SARS as an organ was under this department. "I advice the Committee on security to take action to quickly find a solution to this problem because it is happening all around our constituencies and we must respond to the needs of our people", he said. "It is unsafe for us to have a unit of the police force to act as if it is above the law and empowered to so behave", Misau said.

The squad is supposed to be a section in each state command's CID with the sole responsibility of handling armed robbery cases and answerable to the state Commissioner for Police.

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SARS is not a killing machine as it was created to deal with cases of robbery and any other case the offender carries firearm.

"In the last few months I have received several petitions from my constituents against SARS and it varies from extra-judicial killings, brutality and torture". The incidences are not isolated as many people have been sharing their experiences.

"SARS is used to intimidate opponents and sometimes politicians". They claim he was arrested by a "police team", as if that would explain why he was moved from Kaduna to Abuja in secret or why they are seemingly trying to exonerate SARS officials after the backlash in the media against them.

"Mr President, we have to do something about SARS, it shouldn't be under the operations department, it is supposed to be under investigation".

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