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Thursday, 22 September 2016

Nigerian special police squad get rich torturing detainees and demanding bribes in exchange for freedom - Amnesty International

A shocking new report by Amnesty International has accused a special Nigerian police unit set up combat crimes of torturing detainees in its custody as a means of extracting confessions and lucrative bribes.

The human rights campaign group said in the damning report published on Wednesday, September 21, that former detainees said they had been subjected to horrific torture methods, including hanging, starvation, beatings, shootings and mock executions, at the hands of corrupt officers within the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS).


Amnesty has received reports from lawyers, human rights defenders and journalists and collected testimonies stating that some police officers in SARS regularly demand bribes, steal and extort money from criminal suspects and their families.

Amnesty International’s Nigeria researcher Damian Ugwu said:

"A police unit created to protect the people has instead become a danger to society, torturing its victims with complete impunity while fomenting a toxic climate of fear and corruption.

"Our research has uncovered a pattern of ruthless human rights violations where victims are arrested and tortured until they either make a ‘confession’ or pay officers a bribe to be released. SARS officers are getting rich through their brutality. In Nigeria, it seems that torture is a lucrative business."

Amnesty’s report also reveals SARS detainees are held in a variety of locations, including a grim detention centre in Abuja known as the ‘Abattoir’, where Amnesty found 130 detainees living in overcrowded cells.

Squad investigates civil matters and tortures detainees in non-criminal disputes. In addition to its stated remit of tackling violent crime, Amnesty also found that SARS investigates civil matters and in some cases tortures detainees involved in contractual, business and even non-criminal disputes.

In one case in Onitsha, Anambra state, a 25-year-old fuel attendant was arrested by SARS after his employer had accused him of being responsible for a burglary at their business premises. He told Amnesty:

"The policemen asked me to sign a plain sheet. When I signed it, they told me I have signed my death warrant. They left me hanging on a suspended iron rod. My body ceased to function. I lost consciousness. When I was about to die they took me down and poured water on me to revive me."

Like many people detained by SARS, he was not allowed access to a lawyer, a doctor or his family during his two-week detention. Yet in various cases where victims of police torture or other ill-treatment attempted to seek justice, the authorities took no action.

When the police force was asked by Amnesty why no officers had been suspended or prosecuted for torture, the police denied that any torture had taken place.

However, one senior officer disclosed that around 40 officers alleged to have carried out various acts of torture and ill-treatment of detainees were transferred to other stations in April 2016. He did not say whether the claims against them were being investigated. Damian Ugwu added:

"This lack of accountability creates an environment where SARS officers believe they have carte blanche to carry out acts of torture. This is hardly surprising when many of these officers have bribed their way to SARS in the first place. The police chiefs in charge are themselves entwined in the corruption."

Chidi Oluchi, 32, told Amnesty he was arrested in Enugu before being robbed of his belongings and then tortured in custody by SARS officers.

"They told me to slap myself and, when I refused, they started beating me with the side of their machetes and heavy sticks. My mouth was bleeding and my vision became blurred," said Chidi, who was released after he paid SARS officers N25,500 ($100) to be freed.

Apart from demanding bribes, SARS officers have been accused of stealing or confiscating property from relatives of detained suspects.  Some family members told Amnesty that SARS officers stole their cars or withdrew all the money from their bank accounts.

The majority of the victims of torture in SARS custody are poor and unable to hire legal representatives. In some cases, when detainees cannot afford to pay bribes, they are simply tortured more. Damian Ugwu added:

"Our research has exposed the callous workings of a police squad operating outside of the law and inflicting daily brutality on Nigerians who are often legally powerless to defend themselves against criminal accusations, let alone from the torture meted out by SARS. Depressingly, there are scant judicial or any other mechanisms in place to prevent SARS officers from subjecting vulnerable targets to human rights violations for their own financial gain."

Despite repeated calls from Amnesty in recent years, the Nigerian justice system has failed to prevent or punish torture. In December 2014, the Nigerian police launched a human rights manual which prohibits torture and other ill-treatment of detainees, but SARS has failed to implement it.

When a new Inspector General of Police was appointed in early 2015 it was announced that there would be reform and reorganisation of SARS, but officers attached to the unit told Amnesty they were not aware of the reforms.

A revised version of a bill to criminalise torture, which was first introduced in 2012 but was returned unsigned by the President, was passed by the House of Representatives in June 2016 and will be resubmitted to the Senate for further debates in 2016.

"With the Nigerian government’s previous attempts at stamping out torture proving completely ineffective, it is time for the authorities to ensure that officers responsible for such human rights violations are finally held accountable. Police torture is a stain on Nigerian society that must be addressed with clear orders to law enforcement officers not to inflict torture or other ill-treatment on detainees under any circumstances."

 In February this year, the UK Government announced it was running training in anti-kidnap strategies for the Nigerian police force. The UK also stressed that it would seek assurances from the Nigerian authorities that transfers of equipment, know-how and training for the police do not contribute to human rights violations.

Given these fresh concerns on the police’s human rights record, Amnesty will urge the UK Government to demonstrate how it is ensuring that UK police and military training doesn’t contribute or facilitate any of these types of abuses.

Amnesty International report Nigeria is obligated under international and regional human rights law to ensure the prohibition of torture and other ill-treatment..  All victims have a right to reparations, and steps must be taken to ensure that nobody profits from abusing detainees.

Source: www.amnesty.org.uk

37 comments:

Uju Phil said...

No doubt.NPF honestly needs restructuring,height of corruption! #Evil

Victor Kachi said...

Ok seen





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vinna saviour said...

No be Naija police again

Saphire Muna said...

........ So wrong, so right.... Nxt pls.....














.......... Liber maniac............

Wilson Powex said...

Our problem in this country are as follow
1. Police
2. Politicians
3. 90% of the masses

Govt Govt said...

Very correct

livingstone chibuike said...

May God help us all.

kayode odusanya said...

Corruption everywhere.


Cure for Quick Ejaculation

NaijaDeltaBabe said...

Sadly true


...merited happiness

livingstone chibuike said...

As far as am concern dis is so true.

anita gold said...

All this are not new now abi Linda u go say u no know?

Police is not my friend in anyway even if they parade themselves as one.
How I wish amnesty abi gini kahaporooweha can visit this SARS office at ikeja here in Lagos state.

Eddy Ogbunambala said...

Na waoo

BONARIO NNAGS said...

Wanted to shout SARS immediately I read the headline but saw SARS all over the report.
This report is so true,the men of SARS are notorious for torturing innocent Nigerians, many innocent Nigerians have lost their lives in their hands. They intimidate people to pay or they'll kill the person in their custody. They are so corrupt and something should be done about their excesses


. ~BONARIO~says so via NOKIA LUMIA

Anonymous said...

it is really true about those SARS and it becoming worse and unbearable in kwara state..In Ilorin to be precised they victimize students alot, funny enough they get to know you are a student and still be asking you what do you do for a living, its really absurd you cant go to the mall in peace cos they get to tell you that you dont have money and you are going to the mall and coming out with different bags...I am appealing the Government of Kwara State to find something to do about this cause they are endangering the lifes of student in the hand of all these corrupt people called SARS

dj banti said...

Ok

Anonymous said...

FACT!!

freeborn bamislam suani ahmad bamislam said...

YES IS TRUE NA.Are u surprise huh?
That is how terrorist buhari and his hausa police and soldiers has turn Nigeria into.
NIGERIA POLICE WILL TURN U INTO A LIAR ALL BECAUSE THEY WANT TO LOOK SUPERIOR WE CAN SEE HOW THEY HAVE BEING ARRESTING INNOCENT NIGER DELTA BOYS AN BE LABELING THEM MILITANTS AND HOW THEY ARE PUSHING INNOCENT IPOD MEMBERS.
TERRORIST BUHARI U ARE A SHAME

















#sad indeed

evy claret said...

This is not strange to us

Eva Da Diva...

Anonymous said...

Chubby Mrs Ladoke Needs A Clean Guy For BEDmatics In Lagos

Juliet Iwuno said...

I can't deal biko. Linda take note!

OSINANL said...

IS NORMAL NAH

BIG DADDY KENG said...

Na today??

Don karllitto said...

Pls visit panti...de mak money on daily basis,pple pay 1million to 250k as bribe...most detainees are not even criminals....panti worst place eva

Anonymous said...

And you're not!

Anonymous said...

Police are your frnd. Useless and cursed pple

ed DREAMZ said...

a.k.a EDWIN CHINEDU AZUBUKO said...
.
If i doubt this story make i die shah.... This country is no country and thats fact....
.
.
***CURRENTLY IN JUPITER***

Anonymous said...

It's everywhere, we have Anti-Cultism in ondo state, they are inhumane, cruel and barbaric, they arrest innocent youths everyday and they wouldn't grant bail until a huge amount has been paid, arrested youths are never allowed to call a lawyer or relatives, they bargain with arrested victims like market products.... we need justice in Ondo State... now I heard Anti-Kidnappers has started the same things.

Anonymous said...

It's everywhere, we have Anti-Cultism in ondo state, they are inhumane, cruel and barbaric, they arrest innocent youths everyday and they wouldn't grant bail until a huge amount has been paid, arrested youths are never allowed to call a lawyer or relatives, they bargain with arrested victims like market products.... we need justice in Ondo State... now I heard Anti-Kidnappers has started the same thing....

Anonymous said...

It's everywhere, we have Anti-Cultism in ondo state, they are inhumane, cruel and barbaric, they arrest innocent youths everyday and they wouldn't grant bail until a huge amount has been paid, arrested youths are never allowed to call a lawyer or relatives, they bargain with arrested victims like market products.... we need justice in Ondo State... now I heard Anti-Kidnappers has started the same things.

Vivian Reginalds said...

hmm
-D great anonymous now as Vivian Reginalds

JAO said...

Reminds me of a day they stopped our car, told us we re going to the P.station (Iya ganku) IB without reasons or questioning. Such a shameless squad....

mighty Jude said...

I love what I just read, Nig police are citizens worst enemy xpecially d sars

Victor Charles said...

My car had a minor fault one faithful day and luckily a man came and assisted me even helping me getting my car home that day. Finally he introduced himself as inspector Bolaji, OMG. Police man, after some while I noticed he was often calling for us to be friends, can you believe I have to change my phone number because he's a police, they are harmful. #Odia

Emmanuel Patrick said...

Hmm it's sars??? Haaa please am not saying anything ooo they are like God now on the mainland oo

Musa simon audu said...

Na normal thing wey them dey always do na.... #Lindatakenote

Anonymous said...

My NO is 08029415271. U can contact me.

Anonymous said...

If they don't torture to steal n get lucrative bribe, where will they get money to spray musicains... Eg.. Yomi Sars, kunle target, late Jendon, iku raymon, dele and many more

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