The Nigeria Police force has accused Amnesty International of having a hidden agenda.
Reacting to the latest report of the group on the State Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), Don Awunah, force public relations officer, said the human rights organisation clearly demonstrated “mischief”.
Damian Ugwu, a researcher with Amnesty International, had alleged that SARS operatives engage in illegalities to make money.
But Awunah described the allegations a clear misrepresentation of facts on the current situation of SARS across the country.
He said the report filed by Ugwu was an attempt to “deride and castigate public institutions especially in developing countries like Nigeria”.
“The Amnesty International’s Nigeria researcher, Damian Ugwu’s choice of words in describing the operations of SARS portrays the researcher’s apparent ignorance of the rules of engagement of SARS and the laws regulating criminal investigation in Nigeria,” Awunah said in a statement.
“The researcher deliberately misconstrued the cautionary words, a prerequisite for suspects to sign before voluntary statement is taken from them as ‘death warrant’.
“The assertion of the Amnesty International Nigeria researcher that detainees are subjected to ‘horrific torture methods, including hanging, starvation, beatings, shootings and mock executions, at the hands of corrupt officers from the feared Special Anti-Robbery Squad [SARS]’ is a fantasy of Damian Ugwu.
“The Force has been working with critical stakeholders in the criminal justice system in the country and other local and international NGOs and partners including foreign embassies and international human rights organisations to train and retrain Police personnel to conform to International best practices on care and custody of detainees in its detention facilities across the country.
“The Nigeria Police, therefore wishes to urge Nigerians and the International community to discountenance and disregard the so called Amnesty report on Police torture in Nigeria as a clear demonstration of mischief and calculated attempt to promote a campaign of calumny and hidden agenda of suppressing growth and development in countries like Nigeria.
“The Inspector General of Police, IGP Ibrahim Idris wishes to reassure Nigerians and the International community that the Nigeria Police will continue to discharge its statutory functions according to all known laws and regulations despite obvious distractions.
“The Nigeria Police is determined to adhere to principles of International Police reforms, conform to standard discipline and rewards system, building trust and confidence in the citizenry and will not condone torture and other ill treatment of suspects in SARS detention or any of its detention facility throughout the country.
“The Nigeria Police performance in International organisations has been a source of pride to Africa and the United Nations.”