By Nnamdi Ojiego
The lawmaker representing Enugu North Senatorial District, Senator Chuka Utazi, on Tuesday, demanded investigation into the circumstances that led to the death of 28-year-old Miss Ifeoma Abugu in the custody of Special Anti-Robbery Squad, SARS, Federal Capital Territory Police Command, Abuja.
Miss Abugu, a young graduate, was reportedly whisked away from her fiancée’s apartment at Wumba village, Lokogoma, Abuja, where she was allegedly detained, raped, tortured and killed by the SARS operatives.
While moving a motion of urgent public importance at the National Assembly, Utazi explained that the alleged arrest of the victim in place of her fiancee, Mr Afam Agwunwa, by SARS operatives contravened Section 7 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act.
He explained that since the tragic death of the victim, the FCT Police Command has, to the disappointment of relatives and concerned family members of the deceased, engaged in a blame game in a bid to either exonerate the SARS operatives involved in the crime or callously blame the incident on alleged drug overdose by the victim.
The Senator noted that the deceased had through dint of hard work and sheer determination graduated from the Institute of Management and Technology (IMT) and concluded her National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) as well as her marriage introduction with her fiancé before the incident.
Utazi observed that the tragic end of the victim has once again brought to national limelight, reported cases of misconduct ranging from harassment, extortion, assault, rape and extra-judicial killings attributed to men and officers of the Special Anti -Robbery Squad in the recent past.
He recalled that sometime in 2018, the Federal Government in response to public outcry and media reports on the unlawful activities of SARS set up a Presidential Panel on the Reform of SARS and the report of the Panel formed the basis for the Presidential directives on the overhaul of the activities of SARS.
This, he said, will ensure that the special squad is intelligence-driven, human rights sensitive and restricted to the prevention and detection of heinous crimes such as armed robbery and kidnapping, and apprehension of offenders linked to the stated offences.
He expressed dismay that in spite of geniune efforts to reform SARS, the squad has remained a notorious abuser of human rights of suspects, and dreaded for its brutality in operations, contrary to its scope of activities and the Presidential directives.
He maintained that SARS operatives have often veered away from its core mandate to participate in debt recovery, recovery of premises and other civil matters outside its core mandate.