OrderPaperToday – President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, has stated that the solution to extra judicial killings by security operatives lies beyond the scrapping of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), a notoriously dreaded unit under the Nigeria Police Force.
SARS has consistently been accused of brutalising, extorting and killing Nigerian youths over the years.
Only last week, the Senate resolved to investigate the killing of a young girl in Abuja by SARS operatives
There have been renewed calls by Nigerians to scrap the unit.
But Mr. Lawan thinks otherwise.
He stated his position on Wednesday while contributing to a point of order raised by Senator Oluremi Tinubu (APC, Lagos) on the increasing menace of the security operatives.
Lawan said: “I think that this is the situation that should be properly investigated. Those involved in recent incidents should arrested and prosecuted.
“The law should take its due course. This is not acceptable. Nigerians need to know what happened to those (security officers) who have killed Nigerians.
“There are good people and bad people in SARS. Probably scrapping of agencies when you have mistakes may not be the best position. Rule of law should be put in place.
If you scrap SARS, you lose the chance of getting those doing well to continue to do well.”
Prior to Lawan’s submission, Tinubu highlighted flagrant disregard of laws that should govern all Nigerians as stipulated by the constitution of Nigeria perpetrated by security officials.
She also reminded her colleagues that Nigeria is signatory to the African Charter on Human and People’s rRght and the United Nations Convention against Torture.
“In spite of this the culture of brutality of security operatives towards Nigerians have continued unabated”, she lamented.
She recalled previous instances of brutalisation and killing of Nigerian youths by security agencies.
“Only recently, the internet was awash with videos…the Nigerian Defence Academy which created an illegal blockage at Sabo-Yaba in Lagos state while exclaiming that it was their turn to oppress Nigerians and nothing could be done about it.
“On Tuesday 1st March, the Nigerian army while on lockdown were alleged to have beaten a man to death in Delta state.
“Senate is also saddened with the news of killing of Kolade Johnson on 1st of April while watching a football match at a viewing centre in a community in Lagos state.
“Only recently Kazeem alias Kaka, a budding football star was pushed out of a moving vehicle to his death by SARS operatives after he had been stopped for looking like a yahoo boy. In August 2019, a video surfaced of two policemen shooting dead two unarmed people.”
She noted that while Nigerian army is doing good job in securing the territory against insurgents, allegations of human rights abuses by its officers cannot be overlooked.
The Lagos Senator further expressed concern that the chief culprit in the abuse of Nigerians appear to be the Nigeria Police Force and it’s SARS unit in particular.
“Nigerian youths can no longer move freely for fear that they will profiled and accused of being yahoo boys or fraudsters merely because they look good, own laptops, iPhones, nice looking cars or profiled as having dreads.
“Only recently the global and social media was awashed with the hash tag #EndSARS campaign.”
She pointed out that Nigerian youths involved in software development, FinTech and doing other jobs in the ICT sector are the target because profiling by policemen is the major problem.
“Despite assurances by the IGP in 2015 and 2017, that there will be reforms of SARS, Nigerians are daily being abducted and extorted under duress with no mechanism in place for complaints”, she added.
The following resolutions were approved by the red chamber: “Mandate the committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters to investigate human right abuses by Nigerian security agencies.
“Urge the various security agencies to establish hotlines to enable Nigerians to report abuses by their agents.
“Urge the various security agencies to establish a special Bureau unit that monitors the conduct of its officers, arrests and charges erring ones
“Mandate committee on Police Affairs and Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters to investigate allegations of extra judicial executions and make recommendations for reparation.
“Mandate Senate committee on Police Affairs to organize a stakeholders meeting to investigate implementation of the Nigeria Police Trust Fund act.”