#EndSARS: Police mum as Nigerians recount atrocities of Special Anti-Robbery Squad

December 3, 2017 12:10 pm

Nigerians on Saturday amplified a social media drive which seeks to force the hands of federal authorities to immediately scrap the police Special Anti-Robbery Squad.

The demand for an end to SARS dominated Twitter activities by Nigerians, during which citizens used #EndSARS to list allegations of extra-judicial killings, wanton arrests and dispossession of properties through physical assault and other intimidation tactics.

Police spokesperson, Jimoh Moshood, initially asked PREMIUM TIMES to ignore the campaigners, saying he would call back to give reactions to the allegations against SARS later on Saturday evening.

However, PREMIUM TIMES attempts to get his full reaction between Saturday night and Sunday morning didn’t work out as he didn’t pick phone calls.

Similarly, Hyacinth Dagala and Umar Shehu, the Deputy Inspector-General and Assistant Inspector-General in charge of Criminal Investigation Department, did not answer PREMIUM TIMES phone calls and text messages seeking their comments Sunday morning.

#EndSARS: Police mum as Nigerians recount atrocities of Special Anti-Robbery Squad
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The social media campaign comes after years of appeal to police authorities to address alleged gross rights abuses by SARS fell through, said Segun Awosanya, a concerned citizen who was amongst the lead coordinators of the initiative.

In September Mr. Awosanya led a team that visited the National Assembly to make the case for an urgent elimination of SARS as a police department because its personnel had become too barbaric and its atrocities too grave for any meaningful repositioning.

“The federal SARS has become overpopulated by people who have no regards for human life or dignity of citizens,” Mr. Awosanya told PREMIUM TIMES by telephone Saturday night. “Their grievous activities have gone for too long and we can no longer hope that the police leadership can effect any change.”

Speaker Yakubu Dogara promised to look into the issues raised by Mr. Awosanya’s team, the campaigner said. A copy of their petition that was presented to Senate President Bukola Saraki had also been acknowledged with a promise of possible solution, he added.

An online petition has also been opened to draw awareness to the situation and canvass government action.

A look at the hashtag #EndSARS, which has been trending at number one since Saturday, showed thousands of complaints by citizens who said they had been victims of SARS officers.

Those who have not personally encountered SARS told tales of how their friends and loved ones had suffered at one point.

PREMIUM TIMES could not independently verify the authenticity of the claims, but some of them are not beyond what police authorities have themselves acknowledged in the past.

The segment of Nigerian population that appears regularly targeted by SARS includes young men who bear laptops on the road. They say SARS men routinely stop them and order them to strip their backpack for clues about their activities.

But notwithstanding what they do and how much evidence they present to ascertain their status as law-abiding citizens, SARS personnel would see them as Internet fraudsters and treat them accordingly.

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