Amnesty International (AI) has called on the federal government to investigate the alleged crimes perpetrated by the special anti-robbery squad (SARS).
SARS is a unit of the Nigeria police created to fight violent crimes.
Nigerians in their numbers have taken to the social media to express discontent over the activities of the squad which they say have remained “lawless” and “careless with human lives”.
Weighing in on the agitation on Sunday, AI said it is high time government acted on the allegations.
Speaking to TheCable, Isa Sanusi, AI spokesman, recalled that it had released a report on alleged crimes of torture committed by the squad but “the complaints show nothing has been done”.
Sanusi said: “Since Nigerians are now complaining, it is an opportunity for the government to do the right thing and listen to citizen’s complaints about SARS which is supposed to be protecting people but ended up creating fear and unleashing violence on suspects.
“Now that Nigerians are also joining us in calling for an end to torture, the government should consider implementing our recommendations.
“The outcry shows the government did not act on our work which we did years ago. We are calling on government to listen to the cries of citizens and address these issues.”
He said the Nigeria Police Force had promised to promised to act on the recommendations (contained in the report) “but a year after, Nigerians are still complaining, which means nothing has changed”.
AI, therefore, called for a “thorough, impartial and independent” investigation of SARS,
It said: “First, we are calling for impartial and independent investigations into their alleged crimes. The government should make sure that all SARS officers accused of committing those crimes when established must be punished. That is the first most important thing that should be done.”
Meanwhile, the police have denied claims that SARS operatives are torturing innocent citizens.
Jimoh Moshood, police spokesman, told TheCable that “there have been no established case of crime against SARS”.
He said the “calls for their proscription should be condemned and disregarded by Nigerians”.