SARS: Disbandment grossly insufficient says HURIWA

The Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) has said that the disbandment of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) of the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) was grossly insufficient, even as the rights group has demanded that President Muhammadu Buhari constitutes a judicial panel of inquiry to investigate activities of the squad.

HURIWA in a press statement by the National Coordinator, Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko, and the National Media Affairs Director, Ms Zainab Yusuf, Monday in Abuja, expressed doubts that proper investigation and sanctions would be applied on erring members of the disbanded squad who were being redeployed to other units.

According to the rights group, “It is inconceivable that the Police want to be both the prosecutor and the judge in the case of extensive use of extralegal killing tactics against suspects by the operatives of SARS.

“This is against the backdrop of the announcement by the Inspector General of Police, IGP Mohammed Adamu on the disbandment of SARS after millions of Nigerian Youths spent days in the streets of cities across the country to denounce the criminal activities of the men and officers of the dreaded squad.

“HURIWA dismissed the announcement as an afterthought and a subterranean attempt by the IGP to set up another SARS through deceptive approaches.

“It is cosmetic and simplistic to just announce that SARS has been disbanded and that the members would be redeployed to other policing units. This step is not far reaching enough since it will amount to mixing up rotten eggs with semi-rotten and fairly good eggs in the larger Force.

“We are not convinced that the politically correct public statement disbanding the notorious SARS by the IGP will change anything. At best it’s like changing the colour of an old car and failing to overhaul the engine meaning that the vehicle will still be the same in substance and form.

“What should be done is for the President Buhari in partnership with the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Muhammad Tanko, to set up judicial review commission to go round the different SARS killing fields to collate evidence-based statements and testimonies from victims of the brutality of the Police in camera, compile records and if possible to recruit forensic investigators to be embedded in the judicial commission of investigation.”

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