SARS: Senate talks tough, orders probe of human rights abuses, prosecution of offenders

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Senate President Ahmad Lawan

The Nigerian Senate has directed its Committee on Police, Judiciary and Human Rights to probe human rights abuses of Nigerians by operatives of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) in the last few years.

Senate President Ahmed Lawan gave the directive at plenary on Wednesday while ruling on a Senate resolution following a motion moved by Senator Oluremi Tinubu.

In her motion, Tinubu (APC – Lagos Central) had expressed grave concern about the atrocities committed by SARS operatives in her constituency and across the nation.

She said that this included extrajudicial killings and brazen abuse of the human rights of fellow citizens.

According to her, such must be curbed to prevent a breakdown of law and order, especially among the youths that are the major victims of the atrocities.

Lawan directed that all SARS operatives found to have killed any innocent Nigerian must be prosecuted.

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He said that it was not enough to simply dismiss the offending operatives.

“Those who are involved in the recent killings of innocent Nigerians should be arrested and prosecuted.

“Scrapping the SARS now may not be the best option because the nation may lose the best hands in the agency while trying to do away with the bad eggs among them.

“The dismissal of the bad ones among them is not also enough. Offenders must be arrested and prosecuted to serve as a deterrent to others,” the Senate President said.

SARS, one of the tactical squads of the Nigeria Police Force (NPF), has been accused of tagging many Nigerian youths as internet fraudsters to justify their extortion, harassment, maiming and killing in the recent past.

On Sunday, the Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu ordered SARS off routine patrols and stop-and-search operations on Nigerian roads.

The IGP also ordered that no police unit or squad must conduct operations in mufti.

But in its resolution on Wednesday, the Senate directed the IGP to establish a special unit that will constantly investigate and monitor the conduct of SARS operatives.

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