Amnesty International Reacts To Nigeria's New Directive To Overhaul SARS

The International Human rights organisation, Amnesty International has lauded the directive by Nigeria’s Vice President Yemi Osinbajo for the total overhaul of the country’s Special Anti-Robbery Squad SARS.

Recall that the Acting President Yemi Osinbajo gave the directive on Tuesday after prolonged public outcry against the rogue police unit.

While responding to the news, Osai Ojigho, the Director of Amnesty International Nigeria that earlier highlighted gross violations by SARS including torture and other forms of ill-treatment in September 2016, prompting assurances from the Nigerian authorities that SARS would be reformed, yet shocking violations committed by the unit continued, said:

“this is an overdue yet hugely important move by Acting President Osinbajo. The growing outcry over the brutality of Nigeria’s notorious SARS police unit has finally got the attention of the country’s authorities".

“While this is positive news, it is crucial that any overhaul of SARS is far-reaching and immediately effective. Restructuring SARS is not enough unless the government takes concrete steps to protect Nigerians.

“The reform ordered by the Acting President must translate into ending the serious human rights violations, such as torture and extrajudicial executions, that SARS officers have been committing for years across Nigeria. That includes bringing to justice SARS officers found to have committed such atrocities.

“There is much compelling public evidence of human rights violations committed by SARS, some of it directly documented by Amnesty International, and this should now be used to aid an effective investigation into the unit’s crimes.

“The special panel convened to investigate SARS must be independent and impartial. Its aims can only be achieved if victims are given time and protection to present their cases.”

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