The Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to immediately constitute several judicial commissions of investigations on the activities of the disbanded Special Anti Robbery Squad (SARS), a unit in the Nigerian Police, and make recommendations on those to be prosecuted for crimes against humanity.
It said mere disbandment of SARS was cosmetic and grossly insufficient, adding that the statement from the Police hierarchy that the members of the disbanded SARS would be redeployed to other units of the police and a team set up to investigate allegations of human rights violations by them should be taken as deception.
In a statement yesterday jointly signed by its National Coordinator, Mr. Emmanuel Onwubiko and the National Media Affairs Director, Ms Zainab Yusuf, HURIWA said nothing good will come out from an adjudication process instituted by the same institution of the Nigerian Police accused of gross human rights violations.
The Inspector General of Police (IGP) Mr. Mohammed Adamu, had yesterday ordered the disbandment of SARS, following nation-wide protest by Nigerian youths against alleged extra-judicial killings, assaults and several human rights violations carried out by the proscribed operatives.
The rights group said it was inconceivable that the Police wants to be both the prosecutor and the judge in the case of extensive use of extra-legal killing tactics against suspects by the operatives of SARS.
HURIWA dismissed the announcement as an after-thought and a subterranean attempt by the IG to set up another special anti-robbery squad through deceptive approaches.
It asked the protesters to remain vigilant “in case the Police hierarchy simply re-baptises the now disbanded SARS”.
It said it will be cosmetic and simplistic to just announce that SARS had been disbanded and that the members would be redeployed to other policing units across the country.
HURIWA argued that such step by the Police hierarchy was not far-reaching enough since it would amount to mixing up rotten eggs with semi-rotten and fairly good eggs in the larger Nigerian Police Force.
“We are not convinced that the politically correct public statement disbanding the notorious SARS by the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu will change anything.
HURIWA further said: “At best, it is like changing the colour of an old car and failing to overhaul the engine, meaning that the vehicle will still be the same in substance and form.
“What should be done is for President Muhammadu Buhari in partnership with the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Muhammad Tanko, to set up Judicial Review Commissions to go round the different SARS’ killing fields to collate evidence-based statements and testimonies from victims of the brutality of the Police in camera, compile records and if possible, recruit forensic investigators to be embedded in the judicial commissions of investigations of activities of SARS, so that the killers of these detainees are named and arrested and prosecuted for the crimes against humanity that they committed.
“Honestly, this comical public show and theatre of the absurd by the police hierarchy to tell us that SARS has been disbanded is like a Film Trick in the Nollywood Industry, since these evil minded operatives being complained about will still be distributed to mix up with other police units across the country”.