SARS: Reps introduce new law to hold security officers responsible for individual actions
The House of Representatives has moved to establish a framework for holding individual members of the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) accountable for their conduct in the course of performance of their lawful duties, including criminal and civil liabilities.
The framework will ensure the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) bears the civil liability for failures in their conduct and operational procedures that leads to violations of citizens’ rights
The resolution is sequel to the adoption of a motion under matters of urgent national importance moved by Hon Alhassan Ado Doguwa during a plenary on the need to put a stop to the human rights abuses by members of the Special Anti Robbery Squad (SARS) of the Nigerian Police.
The lawmakers also ordered the Inspector General of Police to take decisive actions in ending the brutality and human rights violations by SARS and report the said actions to the House within three weeks.
The IG is also to produce a comprehensive record of disciplinary and(or) Judicial action taken against the officers accused of abuse of power in the past five years and produce an immediate plan for identifying and compensating victims.
Hon Alhassan while presenting the motion noted with great concerns the persistent outcry by Nigerians over the brutality and human rights violation by the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) of the Nigerian Police Force.
He added that by the alarming rate of unauthorized raids, extortion, stealing, frame-ups, indiscriminate searches of mobile phones, and other smart devices and arbitrary confiscation and fraudulent conversion of private property of citizens to personal use is a sharp departure from their core mandate of responding to cases of armed robbery, kidnapping, and other violent crimes.
Hon Alhassan said the activities of the SARS squad in most cases have led to the loss of property and extrajudicial killings which has eroded public confidence in government and diminished Nigeria’s democratic credentials.
He recalled the recent death of Ifeoma Abugu who was allegedly raped and murdered in FCT, Kinsley Tariuwa in Port Harcourt, Daniel Ikeaguchi Chibuike in Elelenwo Rivers State, Kolade Johnson & Temiyu Kazeem in Lagos, Sunday Bong in Abuja and Miracle in Nnewi.
“The Anti-Torture Act, 2017 and the newly signed Police Act prohibits the use of torture, harassment, and intimidation by security agents,” He said
“Despite repeated announcements since 14th August 2018 by Police authorities to reform SARS, the problem of human right abuses and impunity still persist within the Police Force.
He observed that in most cases efforts by victims and their families to seek justice is greeted with concerted opposition from the police authorities including a threat to their lives”
The house has, however, set up a Joint Committee on Justice, Human Rights and Police affairs to oversee the above prayers and Conduct Public Hearing on the Human Rights Violation of Citizens by SARS and submit their report within 6 weeks for further Legislative action and take immediate steps to develop Legislative actions