ATIKU Abubakar, a former Nigerian Vice-President on has described the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) unit of the Police as oppressors of the Nigerian masses.
The former Vice President joined other Nigerians to condemn the highhandedness of SARS which started trending on Saturday on social media.
He said the police unit had succeeded in abusing peoples right under the watch of President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration and demanded an urgent review.
The special unit has in recent times been accused of illegal activities and brutalities on young Nigerians suspected of fraudulent enterprises.
Atiku Abubakar who was the presidential candidate of the opposition party, PDP in the 2019 election said the unit was set up to curb armed robbery, kidnapping, and other related activities lamented that its operational activities have allegedly transited to human rights abuse.
“The Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) unit of the Police was set up to confront violent crimes such as armed robbery, kidnapping, and other related crimes. However, the unit has today morphed into an oppressor of the Nigerian masses who strive every day for a better life,” he said.
“It is expected that the activities of SARS reviewed to ensure that the rogue elements are excised from the unit and sanity returned to its operations.”
He condemned the reoccurring abuses and “cruel actions” against the people and tasked the Federal Government to address the situation.
“…rise to the occasion and nip this monstrosity in the bud with the seriousness it deserves. Reports of intimidation, harassment and outright extortion by officers of the SARS have continued unabated,” he added.
On Saturday, some SARS operatives were alleged to have shot an unidentified man to death in a broad daylight at Ughelli, Delta State.
In viral footage shared by @MrSomtoOkonkwo on social media, there were claims that the security officials left the victim after shooting at him and allegedly went away with his Lexus Jeep.
A picture of the unidentified man also appeared in the footage while some individuals attempted to chase the suspected police vehicle with an inscription – Save Delta, Ugheli 009.
Garba Shehu, the Presidential Spokesperson was contacted for reaction and if there were plans to review operations of the special unit but The ICIR got no response from him.
In 2018, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo directed Ibrahim Idris, the former Inspector General of Police to probe reported cases of abuse by the unit.
Osinbajo sought for a complete overhaul of the anti-robbery squad and tasked the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) to also conduct an investigation on the allegations.
The Amnesty International particularly expressed concerns beyond the directive to overhaul, stressing that there should be deliberate and concrete actions to protect Nigerians.
In 2019, the NHRC concluded its probe on the unlawful activities, noting much has changed in the several allegations against the special unit.
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