The Alliance for the Survival of COVID-19 and Beyond (ASCAB) has tasked President Muhammadu Buhari to implement recommendations of a 2018 presidential panel on SARS reform if he is serious about the nationwide outrage against the police unit.
Reporters At Large earlier reported that the Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, has announced the dissolved the Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) of the Nigeria Police Force.
He said the operatives will be redeployed to other police formations and commands.
In a statement signed by Femi Falana, ASCAB chairman, the group said the president must walk his talk on how to tackle the menace of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS).
“Following public outcry in 2018 against the indiscriminate arrests and detention, extortion and extrajudicial killings as well as other horrendous human rights abuse of the Nigerian people perpetrated by the operatives of the SARS, the Federal Government responded by setting up a Presidential Panel of Enquiry to investigate all complaints of human rights abuse,” the statement read.
“It is on record that many Nigerians submitted reports and memoranda and gave clear evidence of police abuse. But that the Federal Government has not implemented the recommendations of the Panel after two years of the submission of its Report.
“In view of the concern recently expressed by both President Buhari and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo about the allegations of human rights violations routinely committed by the operatives of SARS, the Federal Government must walk its talk by implementing the recommendations of the Presidential Panel on SARS reform.”
The group also said if past events are anything to go by, the recent “knee jerk reactions” by the president as well as Mohammed Adamu, inspector-general of police (IGP), cannot end the “atrocities” carried out by the police unit.
ASCAB urged Buhari to also make good his promise to reconstitute the governing council of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) without any further delay.
The group also called on state governors to live up to their responsibilities in controlling the police as contained in the Nigerian police council.
“The functions of the council include the organisation, administration and supervision of the Nigeria Police Force. But for some inexplicable reasons, State Governors have allowed the President to single handedly control and supervise the Nigeria Police Force,” it said.
Similarly, ASCAB enjoined Abubakar Malami, the attorney-general of the federation (AGF), to expedite action in prosecuting military officers involved in terrorist attacks.
Citing section 12 of the anti-torture act of 2017, the group urged Malami to make rules and regulations for the “effective implementation of the act including the training and education of personnel involved in the custody, interrogation or treatment of any individual subjected to any form of arrest, detention or imprisonment.”
The group also called on the IGP to ensure compliance with the administration of criminal justice act 2015, the anti-torture act 2017 and the police act 2020, which “imposed a duty on the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) to respect the fundamental rights of the Nigerian people.”
ASCAB said as part of its support to #EndSARS protesters, “it directed its legal and political committee headed by Osagie Obayuwana to provide pro bono legal services for all those who are arrested, detained or charged with any offence whatsoever for taking part in the ongoing protests.”