A member of the All Progressives Congress (APC), in Bauchi state, Isa Misau, has lent his voice to the trending social media outcry against the activities of the Nigeria Police Force’s Special Anti-robbery Squad (SARS).
A hashtag #ENDSARS, calling for the scrapping of the police unit, trended on the social media at the weekend.
Nigerians, who used the social media to recounted their experiences with SARS operatives, listed allegations of extra-judicial killings, wanton arrests and dispossession of properties through physical assault and other intimidation tactics.
Misau said at the Senate that SARS has grown out of the authority of state police commissioners who are supposed to regulate their activities.
‘Above the law’
Relaying experiences of Nigerians in some of the petitions he received, the former Police officer hinted at the dangers of keeping a unit of the police force which has placed itself above the law.
“Mr. President, I have in the last few months received several petitions from my constituency against SARS. The complaints vary from extra-judicial killings, brutality, torture, arrest for bribe and other menacing conduct by the men of the unit.
“Most of the tweets with the hashtag, EndSARS, reported several cases of harassment, and arbitrary arrest of Nigerian youths labelling them ‘Yahoo Boys.’
“Mr. President, the complaints have ranged from how officers waylaid citizens at ATM points to how they often threaten to kill and avowing that they will get away with it. There are specific cases of how SARS officers allegedly murder citizens for declining to give bribes.”
Misau said the Senate must take a bold stand on the issue and end the operation of SARS.
He prayed that the Senate set up a committee to investigate the allegations of human rights abuse by SARS.
Senate President, Bukola Saraki, noted that the issue should be given urgent attention as it affects many Nigerians.
“I think it is clear that something wrong is going on and it needs urgent attention,” he said.
The Senate referred the issue to the ad-hoc committee on security already set up.