JUST IN: Amnesty International Alleged that Nigeria is shielding notorious Police SARS officers.
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Amnesty International (AI) in a new report released on Friday titled “Time to End Impunity” has accused Nigerian authorities of failing to prosecute a single officer from the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS).
AI revealed that it has documented 82 cases of torture, ill-treatment and extra-judicial execution by SARS between January 2017 and May 2020.
The AI Director in Nigeria Mr Osai Ojigho said that the inability of government to bring an end to the gross human rights violations which is being perpetrated by SARS is shocking and unacceptable.
"Nigerians are outraged by the systemic human rights violations perpetrated by the SARS with impunity”.
Osai noted that in many cases, SARS victims bore witness to the scars, bruises, and dried blood on victims’ bodies adding that many of these victims were subjected to beatings with sticks and machetes and that they were equally denied access to medical care.
Osai recalled the case of Miracle with SARS officers in March 2017.
He said Miracle who was 23-year-old was arrested on accused of laptop theft and that he was detained by SARS officers in Neni, Anambra State and that he was tortured for 40 days.
Miracle told AI: “Their leader directed them to hang me. They took me to the back of the hall, tied me with ropes, using all manner of items to beat me, including machetes, sticks, inflicting me with all kinds of injuries. One of the officers used an exhaust pipe to hit me on my teeth, breaking my teeth. I was left on that hanger for more than three hours.”
Osai also reported that in October 2018, 24-year-old whose name was Sunday Bang. He is an amateur boxer. Osai said that he was arrested in his home in Abuja by SARS officers and was accused of robbery.
He stated that Sunday Bang was held in detention for 5 weeks without being given access to family members, lawyers nor medical care and that neither was he charged to court.
He claimed that Sunday suffered bone fractures and other injuries due to torture and illtreatment
AI said that young people of ages 17 to 30 are the ones at risk of arrest, torture, or extortion by SARS and are often accused of being internet fraudsters and/or armed robbers for having/wearing dreadlocks, ripped jeans, tattoos, flashy cars or expensive gadgets.
He lamented that till date, not even officer of SARS has been held accountable for human rights violations despite the fact that they have written letters in three separate occasions to the office of the Inspector General of Police.
Osai Ojigho however advised the Nigerian government to their actions beyond lip service as to ensure that there is real reform within the Nigeria Police Force with an emphasis on SARS.