Amnesty International reacts to decentralization of SARS, says police action not enough

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Amnesty International has reacted to the disbandment of Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad (FSARS) and other special squads by the newly-appointed Inspector General of Police, Adamu Mohammed.

AIG Mohammed had on Monday ordered the decentralization of SARS which was earlier centralized at the Force Headquarters.

Mohammed gave the order at a meeting with officers in the rank of Commissioners of Police and above on Monday in Abuja, ordering that with the new arrangement, commissioners of police in the 36 states and the FCT would assume full command and control all SARS in their commands.

The police boss said henceforth, the SARS unit in the force headquarters would be under the Deputy Inspector-General of Police in charge of Force Criminal Intelligence and Investigation Department (FCIID). 

Reacting, Amnesty International in a statement signed by its Director, Osai Ojigho said the disbandment of SARS “Acknowledges years of outcry from Nigerians over human rights violations routinely committed by its members”

Ojigbo said that the new development, however, commendable was not enough measure by the Nigerian Police to stop human rights abuses by the police.

The statement reads, “The disbandment of the notorious Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad (FSARS) acknowledges years of outcry from Nigerians over human rights violations routinely committed by its members. However, disbandment alone is not enough and must be followed with concrete reforms that will end gross violations by the police altogether.

‘Wide-ranging reforms must be carried out so that Nigerians can trust the police to provide law enforcement according to Nigerian laws and international standards. The toxic climate of fear and corruption perpetrated by the police must end.

“Much more needs to be done to end unnecessary and excessive of force, extrajudicial killings, torture, arbitrary detention and extortion. Wide-ranging reforms must be carried out so that Nigerians can trust the police to provide law enforcement according to Nigerian laws and international standards. The toxic climate of fear and corruption perpetrated by the police must end.

“Previous attempts to end the use of torture by the Nigerian police have proven ineffective.

“To draw a line under these atrocities, they must be investigated, and the perpetrators brought to justice.

“Compelling evidence of crimes and human rights violations committed by FSARS is widely available, including in reports by Amnesty International and can aid effective investigation of crimes committed by the squad.”

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