Nigeria Senate wades into police brutality allegations

Lawmakers in the Nigeria’s house of senate voted on Tuesday to launch an investigation into alleged acts of brutality by a specialist unit of Nigerian police.

The statement read in part;

‘The 8th Senate has directed its Ad-hoc Committee on Security Reform – which was inaugurated to holistically review Nigeria’s security infrastructure for better performance, to investigate the issue of human rights abuses by officers of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad

The committee has been mandated to look into allegations of human right abuses raised by the general public, make relevant recommendations and include it in its final report.’

The move follows a social media campaign calling for the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) to be scrapped. The campaign, which has gathered pace in the last few days, involves people sharing stories of alleged maltreatment by the unit’s officers.

Nigeria’s police force has been dogged by allegations of human rights abuses for years. It has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing.

The inspector general, who heads the Nigeria Police Force, on Monday announced the immediate re-organization of SARS nationwide. He ordered an “investigation into all the allegations, complaints and infractions” levelled against the unit.

Ibrahim Idris, the police chief, also said the division was responsible for a “drastic reduction” in armed robberies, kidnappings and cattle rustling nationwide.

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