Senators express worries over activities of SARS, other security agencies
• Mandates Committee on judiciary to investigate extrajudicial killings
The Senate on Wednesday mandated its Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters to investigate human right abuses by Nigerian security agencies.
It also tasked the same Committee to investigate allegations of extrajudicial executions by the Special Anti -Robbery Squad, (SARS) other security agencies and make recommendations for reparation.
The resolutions, amongst others, were sequel to disclosures of several killings by the SARS by the senator representing Lagos Central, Oluremi Tinubu on the floor of the Senate.
Coming under Order 42, 43, relating to Personal Explanations and Public Importance, Senator Tinubu recalled killings in Lagos, Delta and other states by security agencies, particularly men of the SARS.
She expressed grave concern over the warped profiling of Nigerian youth as internet fraudsters because they make use of laptops and iPhones.
She said:” These injustices are a flagrant disregard of laws that should govern all Nigerians and the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria which, in addition to prescribing powers to these various agencies, provides for the right of every Nigeria.
“Chapter 4 of the Constitution provides for the right to life, right to freedom of movement among others.
“Senate is further reminded that Nigeria is a signatory to the African Charter of Human and People’s right and the convention against torture.
“In spite of this, the culture of the brutality of security operatives towards Nigerians have continued unabated.
“Only recently, the internet was awash with videos of the cadets of the Nigerian Defence Academy which created an illegal blockage at Sabo-Yaba in Lagos State while exclaiming that it was their turn to oppress Nigerians and nothing could be done about it.
“Senate is further saddened that on Tuesday 1st March, the Nigerian Army while on lockdown were alleged to have beaten a man to death in Delta State.
“While the Nigerian Army is doing a good job in securing the territory against insurgents, allegations of human rights abuses by its officers cannot be overlooked.
“Senate is concerned that the chief in the abuse of Nigerians appears to be the Nigeria Police Force in, particular, SARS.
“Nigerian youths can no longer move freely for fear that they will be profiled and accused of being yahoo boys or fraudsters merely because they look good, own laptops, iPhones, nice looking cars.
“Only recently, the global and social media was awash with the hashtag end SARS campaign.
“The Senate is concerned that with more Nigerian youths involved in software development, Fintech and doing more remote jobs in the ICT, profiling by policemen is the major problem.
“Despite assurances by the IGP in 2015 and 2017 that there will be reforms of SARS, Nigerians are daily being abducted and extorted under duress with no mechanism in place for complaints. ”
In his submission, Deputy Senate President, Ovie Omo Agege decried the killings attributed to officers of the SARS and called for its abrogation.
“We are beginning to wonder because you can’t differentiate between SARS and armed robbers, even the way they are dressed.
“We have the constitution which has guaranteed privacy to our citizens but these people have become more like extortionists looking for ways to force people to part with money.”
President of the Senate, however, countered his deputy on the latter’s call for the abrogation of the special Police outfit.
Senator Lawan maintained that “scrapping of agencies when you have mistakes may not be the best position. ”
The President of the Senate submitted that those who take lives of innocent Nigerians be apprehended and made to face prosecution.
“I think that this is the situation that should be properly investigated. Those involved in the recent incident should be arrested and prosecuted. The law should take its due course. This is not acceptable, Nigerians need to know what happened to those who have killed innocent Nigerians.
“There are good people and bad people in SARS. Probably scrapping of agencies when you have mistakes may not be the best position. Rule of law should be put in place.
“If you scrap SARS, you lose the chance of getting those doing well to continue to do well.”