Youths in Lagos today commenced a 3day protest to call for the scrapping of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) of the Nigerian Police Force.
They marched to the Force Headquarters, Ikeja, Lagos, through the Computer Village, Under Bridge, carrying placards with various inscriptions.
In a petition addressed to the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, the protesters demanded the “total disbandment” of FSARS.
In the letter, which was dated October 7 and titled ‘Petition against the activities of SARS’, the protesters also copied the Lagos Commissioner of Police, Hakeem Odumosu.
Part of the letter read, “In spite of several reforms announced by the Inspector General of Police, cases of abuse of citizens by operatives of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad have increased without any steps taken by the high command of the Nigeria Police Force to address the fundamental problem of impunity of operatives of SARS.
“While we continue to witness the unpleasant consequences of the crime-fighting strategy of the force that promotes extra-judicial and extralegal measures, extortion for self-enrichment and lawlessness, the non-adherence to the prescription of the law poses greater consequences for ordinary citizens who are the victims of the brutality of SARS Squad.
“We hereby demand total disbandment of SARS and the identification of cases of extrajudicial execution, torture, and ill-treatment that have caused death or severe injury to be subjected to independent, prompt, impartial, and thorough investigation, and officers reasonably suspected of criminal responsibility be brought to justice.
“This must include superior officers who knew or should have known of officials under their command resorting to the unlawful use of force and firearms, if they did not take all measures in their power to prevent, suppress or report such use.”
They also demanded that the IGP should publish a list of culpable officers and make available a digital platform for tracking cases with the police.
The petition added, “In the spirit of fairness, justice, and tranquility for victims – both dead and alive – we also demand adequate compensation for citizens who may come open with verifiable evidence of their ordeal in the hands of FSARS operatives
“We demand that all SARS cells across Nigeria be opened for an independent investigator to look into cases of detainees.”
The youth protest in Lagos follows last week’s outrage on Social media which was triggered by the viral video shared on Twitter showing a lifeless body of a young boy reportedly shot by a SARS official in Ughelli area of Delta State.
Following the outcry and continued call for an end to SARS operations, the IGP, Mohammed Adamu on October 4 announced the ban of the Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad (FSARS) and other Tactical Squads of the Force from embarking on routine patrols.
Despite this, youths have continued to protest across the country demanding total disbandment of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad.