- The #EndSARS campaign on Nigerian Twitter seems to be gaining momentum by the day
- The hashtag has been trending in the country for almost 48 hours
- Amnesty International has weighed in on the campaign to give details of police brutality across the country
Amnesty International has weighed in on the #EndSARS campaign on Nigerian Twitter to give details of police brutality across the country over the years.
#EndSARS campaign has been the number one trending topic on Nigerian Twitter since Saturday, December 2.
Nigerians from all walks of lives including celebrities have been tweeting their horrific experiences with the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) of the Nigeria Police Force.
Amnesty International used the opportunity to dig out its September 2016 report on the activities of the SARS personnel and gave details of their activities which has brought sorrows, tears and blood to innocent Nigerians.
Part of the report read: “A police unit created to protect the people has instead become a danger to society, torturing its victims with complete impunity while fomenting a toxic climate of fear and corruption.
“SARS officers are getting rich through their brutality. In Nigeria, it seems that torture is a lucrative business.
“SARS detainees are held in a variety of locations, including a grim detention centre in Abuja known as the ‘Abattoir’, where Amnesty International found 130 detainees living in overcrowded cells.
“Our research shows that, in addition to its stated remit of tackling violent crime, SARS investigates civil matters and in some cases tortures detainees involved in contractual, business and even non-criminal disputes.
“Some family members told Amnesty International that SARS officers stole their cars or withdrew all the money from their bank accounts.
“The majority of the victims of torture in SARS custody are poor and unable to hire legal representatives. In some cases when detainees cannot afford to pay bribes, they are simply tortured more
“Police torture is a stain on Nigerian society that must be addressed with clear orders to law enforcement officers not to inflict torture or other ill-treatment on detainees under any circumstances.”
The report noted that the activities of SARS can hardly be curbed because there are scant judicial or any other mechanisms in place to prevent SARS officers from subjecting citizens to torture for their own financial gain.
The report uncovered a pattern of ruthless human rights violations where victims are arrested and tortured until they either make a ‘confession’ or pay SARS officers a bribe to be released.
“SARS officers believe they have carte blanche to carry out acts of torture. This is hardly surprising when many of these officers have bribed their way to SARS in the first place. The police chiefs in charge are themselves entwined in the corruption.
“With the Nigerian government’s previous attempts at stamping out torture proving completely ineffective, it is time for the authorities to ensure that officers responsible for such human rights violations are finally held accountable,” the report concluded.
Meanwhile, former vice president Alhaji Atiku Abubakar has called for investigations into allegations of harassment leveled against the SARS unit of the Nigeria Police Force.
In a statement issued in series of tweets on his verified Twitter handle on Sunday, December 3, Atiku, a former Nigeria Customs Service top chief, noted that the allegations must be taken seriously by the police and the National Assembly.
While urging the two institutions to look into the allegations, he saluted Nigerian youths who have started an hashtag movement on social media to raise awareness about the allegations.
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