Amnesty International Nigeria has accused the Federal Government of empowering officers of Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) to maltreat Nigerians by not holding any of them accountable.
It said despite passing the anti-torture bill in 2017, there is continous evidence SARS operatives continue to use torture and other ill-treatment to execute, punish and extract information from suspects.
AI added that SARS officers have turned their duty to protect Nigerians into an opportunity for extortion and stealing money, property and other valuables belonging to suspects and their families.
The organisation stated this in its report, ‘Time to end Impunity, Amnesty International documents at least 82 cases of torture, ill treatment and extra-judicial execution by SARS between January 2017 and May 2020.’
It said Nigerian authorities must go beyond lip service and ensure there is real reform.
AI, in a statement by its Media Manager, Isa Sanusi alleged: “The Nigerian authorities have failed to prosecute a single officer from the notorious Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), despite anti-torture legislation passed in 2017 and evidence that its members continue to use torture and other ill-treatment to execute, punish and extract information from suspects.”
“Nigerians are outraged by the impunity with which SARS perpetrates horrific human rights violations.
“The complete failure of Nigerian authorities to bring an end to the gross human rights violations perpetuated by the Special Anti-Robbery Squad or to bring any SARS officer to justice is shocking and unacceptable. Nigerians are outraged by the systemic human rights violations perpetrated by the SARS with impunity,” said Osai Ojigho, Director of Amnesty International Nigeria.