Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo has expressed anger over the harassment and killing of young Nigerian youths by operatives of the Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad (FSARS).
On Saturday, October 3, 2020, Nigerians renewed the call on the Federal Government to scrap the SARS police unit after a young man was killed by SARS officers in the front of Wetland Hotel, Ughelli in Delta State.
KanyiDaily had reported how the SARS officials allegedly shot the young man, left him for dead, and escaped with his vehicle – a white Lexus Sport Utility Vehicle.
Speaking on Sunday with State House correspondents at his residence in Abuja, Osinbajo said he was angry about the actions of some policemen, especially those attached to SARS, whom he accused of harassing and sometimes maiming and killing young Nigerians nationwide.
He said such actions coming from those saddled with the responsibilities of protecting the citizens were unacceptable, adding that it is wrong for policemen to be seizing laptops and phones from young Nigerians in the name of fighting cybercrime.
“I am very concerned and in fact sometimes angry about what I see happening to young men and women, who are arrested, and in some cases, maimed or killed by men of the police force; in some cases, those who man tactical units of the police force such as SARS and other units.
“It is completely objectionable. It is unacceptable. These are individuals who are meant to protect Nigerians. The arrest, maiming, killing of young people or of anyone at all by these individuals is completely wrong. It is unlawful. It is illegal and all those involved ought to be investigated and prosecuted.
“This afternoon, I had a meeting with the IG of Police. We reviewed several of these issues. The President and I had had discussions on this. He is very concerned about this and he wants to see a reform of this process and I am sure you are probably aware that the IG has issued a statement, looking at all these issues, in particular, warning against the use of these tactical forces such as SARS for the purposes of anything other than anti-bribery as it is supposed to be.
“For example, in the statement, he specifically said that we can’t have a situation where SARS will say they are investigating cybercrime and arresting young men and women who are carrying laptops and their phones.”
Osinbajo blamed the harassment on ”a few bad eggs” in the police force who are causing all of the problems, adding that there is a need to take serious action because right now people don’t know the difference between policemen and armed robbers.
“Cybercrime is an electronic crime. There is no way that you can investigate that by seizing people’s phones in a taxi. I think it is very obvious that this is a major concern. The few bag eggs within the police force are causing a lot of these.
“You cannot say that because you belong to a tactical unit, you can dress in your casual clothing and be armed, because people can’t even tell the difference between robbers and the police; if you are not properly dressed in police uniform. So, clearly, a reform is in the offing.”
Osinbajo urged Nigerians to continue to bring the issue regularly to the attention of the government and the police.
He added, “On the part of government and the police: to ensure that every one of those allegations is properly investigated and those found responsible are prosecuted and publicised so that people know that prosecution has taken place and this is the consequence. I am very confident that we will have a reformed police force and that process has already begun.”
Meanwhile, the Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Abubakar Adamu has ordered the immediate ban of FSARS operatives and other squads under the Nigerian Police Force.