By Chinedu Adonu
ENUGU – A civil society organisation, Prisoners’ Rehabilitation and Welfare Action, PRAWA, has called for effective monitoring of the operations of the special anti-robbery squad, SARS, to end incidences of gross violation of human rights.
Executive Director of PRAWA, Dr. Uju Agomoh, made the call in Enugu at the end of a 2-day training on strengthening of monitoring and provision of support to the Nigerian police special anti-robbery squad, SARS, with support from, Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit, GIZ, (German society for international cooperation).
According to her, “effective oversight aimed at enhancing human rights compliance should put into consideration the independence, integrity and credibility of members, legal and administrative backing of the mechanism capacity, willingness and sincerity of the agency in redressing the violation and preventing future occurrence”.
Speaking earlier, retired assistant inspector general of police and security leadership consultant, James Caulcrick, said the training was principally organised to empower and strengthen the special anti-robbery squad to perform efficiently and desist from gross abuse of human rights of citizens.
“This program is actually targeted at the training of SARS on human rights principles and of course you are aware that there is a lot outcry over the abuse of human right of citizens by personnel specifically the SARS.
“More should be done to enlighten SARS personnel as well as strengthen them to be able to perform their functions more effectively and acceptably by members of the public whom they are charged to protect and serve.
“There must be that will, particularly by the personnel of the Nigeria Police Force and SARS personnel, definitely there need to be a paradigm shift from what they have been alleged to have been used to, that is gross abuse of human rights, and we got to understand that they are servant of the people.
“People really need to appreciate that they are serving them and when there is rampant abuse of the right of citizens it will definitely not go down well for SARS personnel to continue in their capacity as enshrined in the constitution to protect lives and properties”, he said.
While calling for cooperation between the police, civil society organisations and other stakeholders, Caulcrick, said emphasis should be placed on monitoring of the recruitment and selection process of police officers as well as welfare and condition of service.
Participants drawn from different police formations in the state were drilled on various thematic areas including implementation of criminal justice law of Enugu state, dealing with complaints against SARS officers, as well as obligations and responsibilities under international and domestic law.