IHRC Commends IGP: Says Ending SARS is more Exceptional

Urgent Press Release
5/10/2020

The International Human Rights Commission, SMM Niger Delta.

Re: IGP BANS FSARS, OTHER POLICE TACTICAL SQUADS FROM ROUTINE PATROLS ( Ref No. 2.5300/FPRD/FHQ/ABJ/VOL.3/25)
…commends IGP, says banning isn’t enough: End SARS

The cases of brutality by men of the SARS have prompted us to urgently address it and commend IGP on his new order with reference number 2.5300/FPRD/FHQ/ABJ/VOL.3/25 dated 4/10/2020 while reaffirming that ending SARS is more exceptional.

Grave human rights violations such as torture, enforced disappearances, and extrajudicial executions, are being committed with impunity. Such methods of torture and other ill-treatment include severe beating, hanging, starvation, shooting in the legs, mock executions, and threats of execution. It reveals a pattern of abuse of power by SARS officers.
Detainees in SARS custody were found to have been subjected to a variety of methods of torture, including hanging, mock execution, beatings, punching, and kicking, burning with cigarettes, waterboarding, near-asphyxiation with plastic bags, forcing detainees to assume stressful bodily positions, and sexual violence

It is bedeviling to learn that members of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad – SARS continue to torture, rape, kill, and extort Nigerians who they are supposed to protect in impunity. The anti-torture law meant to provide justice is not being enforced.
Police should be protecting Nigerians not extorting them. SARS officers continue to act with impunity as if they are above the law.

A statement by the Niger Delta Representative of the International Human Rights Commission, Fidelis Onakpoma, said that the IGP has done well for his swift response towards ensuring the protection of human rights but saddened to reflect that while they are being banned from routine patrols, SARS will formalize illegal patrols, thus violations continue and the purpose being defeated.
They will always find their ways to another routine to cause more harm than good to the people of Nigeria said Fidelis.
We hereby call on the government to:

  1. Ensure that the Anti-Torture Act is implemented fully and effectively across Nigeria
  2. End the practice of incommunicado detention and ensure that all detainees have access to their family, a lawyer immediately after their arrest and regularly throughout the period of their detention or imprisonment
  3. Thorough and impartial investigation of all allegations of torture and other ill-treatment and bring anyone suspected to be responsible to justice in a fair trial without recourse to the death penalty
  4. Ensure that statements and other information or materials obtained through torture and other ill-treatment are not used as evidence in courts.
  5. Investigate SARS unlawful activities and end them. It is not enough to ban them.

Comr. Gift O. Okeregha
Team IHRC , Niger Delta

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