By Kingsley Omonobi, Abuja

The human rights group, Amnesty International has criticized the Nigerian Police Force for allegedly neglecting the prosecution of members of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad SARS, whom it said, engaged in the torture of suspects.

The group insisted that SARS has continued to use torture and other ill-treatment to execute, punish, and extract information from suspects.

According to a new report titled, ‘Time to End Impunity,’ released on Thursday, Amnesty International said it documented at least 82 cases of torture, ill-treatment, and extra-judicial executions by SARS between January 2017 and May 2020.

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AI disclosed that the victims are predominantly males between the ages of 18 and 35, from low-income backgrounds and vulnerable groups.

Osai Ojigho,the Country Director of Amnesty International Nigeria, said, “The complete failure of Nigerian authorities to bring an end to the gross human rights violations perpetrated 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.

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“The systemic use of torture and other ill-treatment by SARS officers for police investigations and the continued existence of torture chambers within the Nigerian Police Force points to an absolute disregard for international human rights laws and standards.”

Amnesty International also said its investigation revealed a disturbing pattern of abuse of detainees in SARS custody despite the 2017 Anti-Torture Act.

The group said it has evidence and bore witness to the scars, bruises, and dried blood on victims’ bodies, pointing out that many of them were subjected to beatings with sticks and machetes and denied medical care.

As at the time of filing this report, Force Public Relations Officer, DCP Frank Mba is yet to respond on request for Police response.


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