Global human rights watch-dog, Amnesty International is urging Nigerians to sign an online petition; calling for an end to police brutality in Nigeria.
To this end, it has set up an online form on its website with an eight-paragraph petition.
Equally important, the petition, to be completed by interested Nigerians, is addressed to President Muhammadu Buhari; as well as the Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami.
1st News reports that Amnesty International has consistently spoken out against police brutality in Nigeria; specifically pointing the finger at the operatives of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS).
‘‘In Nigeria, civilians are being extorted, raped, tortured, and killed by police officers who are members of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad – SARS. Victims of these crimes are still waiting for justice because the anti-torture law meant to provide justice is not being enforced. Take action now to end impunity and demand the reform of police in Nigeria,’’ Amnesty International urged.
Further, it noted that survivors of police brutality have risked everything to tell their stories and seek justice; even as it noted the loved ones of those who died have done the same.
Specifically, Amnesty International cites the case of an alleged victim identified only as Ugochukwu; a trader who was allegedly tortured and almost killed by SARS operatives; eventually parting with the sum of N6m to secure his freedom.
‘‘On 30 April 2018, Ugochukwu, a 32-year-old trader was arrested without a warrant at his shop. The police officers accused him of paying a gang whose members had been blackmailing him. Instead of helping Ugochukwu, SARS officers requested 20,000,000 nairas ($55,325) as payment for his freedom.
”They detained and tortured him for six days, and even staged a mock execution to break him and force him to pay. On the fifth day, Ugochukwu was told that his life would end that day because he refused to pay.
‘‘Four policemen blindfolded and handcuffed him. They pushed him inside a car and drove for two hours. They brought him near a burrow pit inside the bush..All drew their guns and pointed them at him. Ugochukwu begged for his life as the leader gave the order to fire. He heard the sound of rapid gunshots and passed out.
‘‘When he finally came to, he was back in the car and policemen brought him back to the cell. He was told that he would not be so lucky next time. Ugochukwu paid 6,000,000 nairas ($16,666) to SARS officers the next day before he was released.’’
Also, it accused SARS operatives of unlawful killings and torture, citing the case of one Hamilton Osahenhen Obazee; who was arrested and allegedly tortured to death by SARS officers on March 6, 2020 in Edo state.
Amnesty International notes that both cases are examples of many instances of police brutality in Nigeria.
‘‘For years, human rights organisations and the media have documented and reported cases of extrajudicial killings; torture, and other ill-treatment committed by SARS officers. Our latest report “Nigeria: Time to end impunity” shows that despite a law criminalizing torture; which was passed in December 2017, SARS officers continue to act with impunity as if they are above the law.
‘‘It is time to finally end impunity for police brutality and torture in Nigeria. Join our members and supporters and demand an end to police brutality in Nigeria. Take action now by sending an email to President Muhammadu Buhari as well as to the Attorney General Abubakar Malami to demand the reform of the police in Nigeria.”