Responding to the recent video circulating on social media, apparently showing the aftermath of an alleged killing of a young man by the country’s Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), Osai Ojigho, Director of Amnesty International Nigeria said:
“The scale of the reaction to this incident shows that the concerns of the Nigerian people are reaching boiling point. All incidents of violence meted out by this notorious police unit must be independently investigated, and those found to be responsible must be prosecuted in fair trials.”
“The #EndSARS hashtag is rightly gaining the attention of the police and Nigerian government and now officials must do more to end these horrendous abuses of power. Amnesty International highlighted such abuses more than a year ago and yet these shocking incidents still continue. Restructuring SARS is not enough, the government must take concrete steps to protect Nigerians.”
Amnesty International’s September 2016 report Nigeria: You have signed your death warrant showed how the SARS police unit has been systematically torturing detainees as a means of extracting confessions and bribes.
Nigeria has obligations under international and regional human rights law to uphold the absolute prohibition of torture and other ill-treatment. The Nigerian government should take all necessary steps to ensure that police officers do not commit human rights violations.
In August 2015 the police authorities announced that, in a bid to address complaints of human rights violations by SARS officers, it would introduce reforms by splitting the command into two units: Operation and Investigation. Positive developments as a result of the reforms are yet to be seen.
This is a press release from Amnesty International.