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Ndubuisi Udo: Disband SARS And Reform The Police— by Kolawole Simon |The Republican News

Ndubuisi “Dele” Udo killed by Nigeria police officer in 1981

By Simon Kolawole

If you don’t know Ndubuisi (“Dele”) Udo, it is not your fault. The Nigerian police did not allow him to be great. As a teenage athlete in the 1970s, Udo was a collegiate champion at the University of Missouri in the United States. He was a three-time member of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) All-American team. He was a holder of numerous Missouri, Big Eight and NCAA records. Then he came to Nigeria in July 1981 in preparation for the 3rd IAAF World Cup scheduled for September 1981 in Rome, Italy. The quarter-miler would never return to the US again, neither would he fulfil his dreams and aspirations of conquering the world in athletics.

One evening, he left camp with some of his colleagues to buy suya at Ojuelegba, Lagos state. They were stopped at a police checkpoint. You know how it goes with the Nigerian police. One thing or the other, they got into an argument. Then a policeman pulled out his gun and shot Udo. He was dead in nanoseconds. As young as I was then, I could not resist the tears when I watched his funeral on TV. He was just 24. He had been part of the Nigerian team to the 1980 Olympics in Moscow. Although he did not win any medals (Nigeria came back empty-handed), his future looked bright. He was just warming up. He made it to the semi-finals of 400 meters and was part of the 4x400m team.

The prodigious product of National High School, Aba, had been married to an American lady for just three weeks when the Nigerian police murdered him. Udo’s wife was pregnant with their daughter, who would never see her father. They killed him. Police killed him. They murdered his hopes and dreams with a solitary, sickening bullet — over nothing. What happened next? You know the drill: the killer policeman was detained; the inspector-general of police, Mr Sunday Adewusi, who was new on the job then, promised a thorough investigation; President Shehu Shagari vowed that justice would be done; and a street was named after Udo in Ikenegbu Layout, Owerri, Imo state. The end.

Adewusi, now late, would go on to unleash the mobile police unit (MOPOL) on Nigerians in the 1983 general election. The notoriety of the anti-riot unit earned them the nickname: “Kill and Go.” And here, 39 years after the gruesome murder of Dele Udo, we are still reeling under police brutality. Innocent souls are still being battered, this time by the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) which has displaced MOPOL on the cruelty league table. Murderous police officers are still being arrested and detained. The inspector-general is still promising to investigate the “remote and immediate” causes. The president is still promising justice and action. Does anything really change in Nigeria?

The latest public outrage over the impunity of SARS — triggered by the reported shooting of a young Nigerian in Ughelli, Delta state — offers President Muhammadu Buhari an opportunity of a lifetime to write his name in gold by carrying out a comprehensive reform of the police. It is in our best interest. This is not the time to be taking photographs with the IGP and issuing press statements to the effect that he has been directed to do this and that. The police hierarchy are part and parcel of the problem. They have always resisted attempts to make a fundamental change. They mouth one thing and do another. You and I know the reason. Why change a system that feathers your nest?

Before SARS, police had always engaged in vicious extrajudicial killings. There is nothing we are saying about SARS today that we have not said about other police units in the past, except that today we are in the internet age and officers have seized the opportunity to open new shops dedicated to yahoo boys and girls. Task forces set up by various state governments to enforce traffic rules and environmental laws are notorious for human rights abuses. Police officers will first slap a bus driver before arresting him for stopping at an illegal bus stop. Police officers rent guns to armed robbers or even partake in robbery operations themselves. SARS is just a tip of the iceberg.

Why are police officers generally so brutal? Why are they so arbitrary? Why do they drive against traffic? Why do they drink and gamble? Why do they rape? Why do they make themselves available to be hired to settle personal scores in purely civil matters? Why do they openly extort money from motorists? Why do they steal exhibits? Why do they lack respect for human dignity? These questions go beyond SARS. They hit at the heart of everything that is wrong with our police force. Disbanding SARS can only be a starting point. But if the factory that produces these cold-blooded police officers remains open and is not overhauled, we would only be scratching the surface.

Meanwhile, the truth is that police officers are also not completely useless. They are out there risking their lives to protect us. They are awake while we are sleeping and snoring. They are standing by the roadside while we are in our air-conditioned offices. They are always the first target when armed robbers want to strike. They are human beings like us. They are fathers and mothers. They are uncles and aunties. Ironically, these same police officers win medals when they are on duty outside the country, especially on UN and AU missions. How do we explain that? Is there something about the Nigerian water that destroys their humanity? Is it our culture of impunity?

In 2004, I did a mini-study on the police, with great help from my friend and foot soldier, Ibrahim Sule (who sadly passed away last year). I wanted to understand the problems and challenges. I focused the research on the recruitment process and the conditions of service. I then wrote a series of articles based on my findings. Here is a quick summary. The recruitment was terribly flawed. Because of our poor record keeping, ex-convicts, including armed robbers, and unfit persons were being recruited into the force. The conditions of training could only produce beasts. The hostels were inhabitable, the food was appalling and even their allowances were not being paid.

Firearms training was grossly inadequate. Many recruits finished training without being properly taught arms handling. Recruits had to bribe to get official uniforms. What’s more, at every level and stage in the recruitment process, there was fraud. Police belts and shoes were being hawked openly. For those already inside the force, the tales were sadder. They saw their colleagues die on duty and their widows battle and struggle for years to collect the entitlements. One senior officer once lamented to me: “Is this what will happen to my family if I die serving this country?” Police officers were being given patrol vans without fuel. They had to fuel the vehicles from their own pockets.

“You think we don’t know they extort motorists?” a very, very senior police officer told me. “We just look the other way because we don’t give them money for fuel.” Guess what happened to the fuel budget. Officers were being transferred without plans for accommodation and without getting their allowances. I was at the Pen Cinema police station, Agege, Lagos, one morning and saw policemen sleeping inside a van. One officer told me: “They were transferred from Enugu last month. There was no plan for accommodation, so they sleep inside patrol van, wake up very early in the morning to have their bath, and they have to go on patrol without funds being provided for fuel.”

I can’t remember what officers were being paid as hazard allowance then but it was a pitiable pittance, while politicians were feasting on billions of naira. Have you ever gone to report a case at a police station and you are asked to “mobilise” officers to for investigation? This is the back story: there are hardly any funds made available for investigation. An officer told me some years ago that he had to be transporting suspects to court from his own pocket. Many suspects rot in police cells for this reason. A police officer confided in me that he resorted to drinking dry gin and smoking marijuana anytime he was on night duty to gain “Dutch courage”. He often felt vulnerable.

Fellow Nigerians, you can now imagine what would happen when you unleash these bitter, desperate, frustrated, ill-trained, cheated, demoralised, disoriented and dehumanised human beings on the society — and then give them guns, to boot. You ask them to police people who look successful, respected and well-nourished, people who treat them with disdain and suspicion. For clarity, I am not making any excuses for their impunity. Poor training and operational conditions do not excuse the insanity. But my point is: in the end, we are getting the kind of police that we breed. The foundation is faulty. A police officer will always be a police officer, no matter the unit or station.

That is why the problem is deeper and wider than SARS: the mould that produces police officers needs to be reshaped. Since we cannot do away with them, we have to make them more effective and recondition them to see their job as that of protecting the people, not extorting, oppressing or killing them. There is no proper consequence management and accountability process in place. When you give people power over others, give them guns, and empower them to literally make the difference between life and death, you should realise that there will be abuse and impunity and make an arrangement to address it. It is clear that no such strong mechanism currently exists.

If I were to advise President Buhari, though, the first thing is for him to seize the moment by disbanding SARS immediately. That would be the starting up. That would send a strong signal that this is not the usual presidential lip service. Also, he should order a thorough investigation of their atrocities, perhaps a truth commission that will lead to the prosecution of erring officers and commanders. Above all, he has to overhaul the police force. We need to look intensely into the recruitment process, the orientation, the welfare, the budgeting, the accountability and the entire operations. There is something that makes them behave the way they do. Let’s get to the root!

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BREAKING: Presidential Panel On Police Reforms Okays 5-point Demand Of Protesters |The Republican News

#Endsarsnow protesters

Following directives by President Muhammadu Buhari on dissolution of Special Anti-Robbery Squad and immediate response to yearnings of citizens, the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, convened a meeting with stakeholders, agreeing to meet demands, which include halting use of force against protesters and unconditional release of arrested citizens.

The meeting, organized by the Office of the Inspector General of Police and National Human Rights Commission, was a multi-stakeholders’ forum attended by leaders and representatives of civil society organisations in Nigeria, activists from the entertainment industry and the ENDSARS movement and development partners.

The Ministry of Police Affairs and Police Service Commission were also present at the meeting that affirmed that the five-point demands of the protesters and the ENDSARS movement are genuine concerns and will be addressed by the Government.

A communiqué of Stakeholders’ Meeting on the Implementation of the Recommendations of the Presidential Panel on the Reform of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) said:

“Following the public protests regarding various forms of human rights violations by the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) and the consequent disbandment of the unit by the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, there arose the need for stakeholder engagement to build trust and restore public confidence in law enforcement.

“The agitations also brought to the fore, the need to implement the recommendations of the Presidential Panel on the Reform of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS).

“The Forum was addressed by the Inspector General of Police and the Executive Secretary of the National Human Rights Commission.

“The Forum collectively: welcomed the dissolution of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) by the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu; Reaffirmed the constitutional rights of Nigerians to peaceful assembly and protest; Further affirmed the sanctity of life of every Nigerian and the role of the Police in protecting this right; Affirms that the five-point demands of the protesters and the ENDSARS movement are genuine concerns and will be addressed by the Government.’’

According to the communiqué signed by the Inspector General of Police and Executive Secretary of the National Human Rights Commission, Tony Ojukwu, Esq, the Forum noted that the dissolution of SARS presents an opportunity to embark on comprehensive reforms aimed at repositioning the Nigerian Police Force as a modern, responsive and citizens-centred law enforcement organisation.

“The Forum further notes that the proposed reforms should be anchored under the basis of the White Paper on the Report of the Presidential Panel on the Reform of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad which was jointly authored by the National Human Rights Commission, the Federal Ministry of Justice, and the Nigeria Police Force.

“The Forum affirms that reform proposals for the Nigerian Police Force will be based on Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and existing legislations such as the Nigeria Police Act, 2020, the Nigeria Police Trust Fund Act, 2019, the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, 2015 the Anti-Torture Act, 2017, and the National Human Rights Commission Act, 2010 amongst others.

“Following the dissolution of SARS, the Forum calls for the following immediate steps to be taken in restoring public confidence and trust in the Police: An order by the Inspector General of Police to all State Commands to halt the use of force against protesters; Unconditional release of arrested protesters and citizens; Open communication and outreach to citizens to establish trust and confidence and a roadmap for the implementation of the White Paper of the Presidential Panel on the Reform of the SARS.

“The Forum welcomed the proposal to set up an Independent Investigation Panel to look into the violations of human rights by the defunct SARS and other segments of the Nigerian Police. The Forum agrees to the setting up of this Independent Panel by the National Human Rights Commission within the next one week. An open call for Memoranda from members of the public whose rights have been violated by the defunct SARS and other segments of the Police will be released by the Commission within one week.

“The Forum recommends the psychological evaluation, training and retraining of disbanded SARS officials prior to re-deployment. The Forum resolves to set up the following Technical Sub-Committees to design an implementation roadmap and work plan for the implementation of the White Paper: Training, Capacity and Re-orientation; Logistics: Infrastructure, Communications and Technology; Arrest, Detention, and Investigations; Regulations, Oversight and Accountability and Financing and Partnerships.’’

The communiqué stated that sub-Committees will be supported by the National Human Rights Commission and other civil society organisations.

Those who attended the meeting are: Dr Kole Shettima- MAC Arthur Foundation; Innocent Chukwuma – Ford Foundation; Jude Ilo- of OSIWA; Segun Awosanya(segalinks) – End Sars Movement; Yemi Adamolekun- Enough is Enough; Clément Nwankwo- PLAC; Rafsanjani- CISLAC; Kemi Okonyedo- PWAN; YZ – CITAD; Folarin Falana Falz; Prof Deji Adekunle –NIALS; Chris Ngwodo, SSA to President Research & Policy; Dr Fatima Waziri – Rule of Law Adviser OVP and Abdulrahman Yakubu – NHRC Secretariat.

Others are: Hilary Ogbonna- NHRC secretariat; Halilu Adamu – NHRC Secretariat; Ben Aguh – NHRC secretariat; Dr Uju Agomuoh – PRAWA and Onyinye Ndubuisi – UNDP.

Femi Adesina
Special Adviser to the President
(Media & Publicity)
October 13, 2020

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BREAKING: Osinbajo Orders Immediate Overhaul Of SARS |RN


Acting President Yemi Osinbajo has ordered an immediate re-organisation of the police’s Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS).

The Acting President gave the order following persistent complaints and reports on the activities of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS)

The allegations border on human rights violations.

Osinbajo ordered the Inspector General of Police (IGP) to, with immediate effect, overhaul the management and activities of SARS.

The IGP, according to a statement by Mr Laolu Akande, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media & Publicity, Office of the Acting President, would ensure that any Unit that will emerge from the process, will be intelligence-driven.

Such unit, he said, should be restricted to the prevention and detection of armed robbery and kidnapping, and apprehension of offenders linked to the stated offences, and nothing more.

The Acting President has also directed the IGP to ensure that all operatives in the emerging Unit conduct their operations in strict adherence to the rule of law and with due regard to International Human Rights Law and the constitutionally guaranteed rights of suspects.

The operatives should also bear proper identification anytime they are on duty.

Meanwhile, the Acting President has directed the National Human Rights Commission to set up a Special Panel that will conduct an investigation of the alleged unlawful activities of SARS in order to afford members of the general public the opportunity to present their grievances with a view to ensuring redress.

(NAN)

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Fulani Herdsmen Kill SARS Operative In Oyo |The Republican News

Fulani-Herdsmen3
                                                            Fulani herdsmen

Olufemi Atoyebi, Ibadan

There was pandemonium in Saki town, Oke-Ogun area of Oyo State on Tuesday after suspected Fulani herdsmen killed the Officer-in-charge of the Special Anti Robbery Squad in Saki Area of the Oyo State Police Command, Sheu Magu, and a member of his team.

The deceased were said to have died as a result of machete injuries sustained in the hands of the herdsmen during an operation in a forest around Saki-Ogboro.

Two weeks ago, Commissioner of Police in the state, Abiodun Odude, held a peace meeting with herdsmen, farmers and leaders of the agrarian communities of the state in the command headquarters in Eleyele, Ibadan.

Police Public Relations Officer of the command, Adekunle Ajisebutu, said four suspects who were connected to the crime had been arrested.

A source who preferred anonymity told our correspondent that the SARS men had arrested some suspected Fulani herdsmen for disturbing public peace but they were ambushed by another group of herdsmen.

The source said another victim of the attack, simply identified as Ademola was receiving treatment in an undisclosed hospital in Saki.    (Punch)

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#EndSARS: Despite IGP’s Order, Nigerians Insist SARS Must Be Scrapped |RN

Ibrahim-Idris
                                        Police IG Ibrahim Kpotun Idris.

Despite the call by the Inspector General of police, Ibrahim Idris,  for an immediate reorganisation of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad, Nigerians insist that it should be scrapped.

The Hashtag, #EndSARS gained momentum on the social media on Sunday, when Nigerians took to Twitter to protest ill-treatment, abuse and harassment by operatives of the SARS.

Although, the IGP has called for the SARS to be restructured, the #EndSARS continues to trend. Nigerians still demand the scrapping of the SARS.

See some of the tweets:

There’s no need for any re organization,All Nigerians want is to #EndSars

— Truth Empire (@TruthEmpire1) December 4, 2017

And do not allow anyone sabotage your/our efforts. #EndSARShttps://t.co/y9eEy5SE7M

— VeloxTravel✈️ (@weabless) December 4, 2017    (Punch)

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Kwara Command Detains SARS Men For Alleged Sexual Harassment |RN

Dolapo-badmus

Zone 2 Lagos Police Command Spokesperson, SP Dolapo Badmus

Success Nwogu, Ilorin

The Kwara State Commissioner of Police, Mr. Lawan Ado, says the four police officers of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad accused of sexually harassing a lady, Kachi Zion, along the Pipeline area of Ilorin, have been detained.

Zion had through her Instagram page –@69bars –alleged that some SARS operatives accosted her at the Pipeline area in Ilorin at the weekend, accused her of prostitution and searched her.

She specifically accused one of the policemen of inserting his fingers into her private parts.

Ado, who spoke through the command’s Police Public Relations Officer, Mr. Ajayi Okasanmi, told our correspondent on the telephone in Ilorin on Tuesday that he was sad at the allegation.

Okasanmi said he had been in contact with the spokesperson for the Zone 2 Police Command, Lagos, SP Dolapo Badmos.

Badmos had earlier told journalists that the Zone 2 would liaise with the Kwara State CP over the incident.

The Kwara PPRO said after the CP got information about the allegation on the social media, he directed that Zion should be invited to the command to shed more light on her allegation.

Related: Prison Warder Commits Suicide After Photos With Inmate Went Viral |RN

He stated that the lady honoured the invitation on Tuesday and had made “useful statement.”

Okasanmi said further that the four SARS men had been invited for interrogation.

He stated that although they denied the allegation, they had been detained.

He said, “Regardless of their denial, the command is still investigating them and will punish them according to the law if it is proved that they are guilty. They will, however, be released, if they are innocent.

“As the CP directed, I got in contact with the lady (Zion) and invited her to the command. The lady was with us this morning (Tuesday). We also invited the SARS men that were posted to the area on the day the incident took place. The team members denied the allegation, but we are still investigating the matter. The lady was satisfied with the action we have taken so far.

“We will get to the root of the matter. If actually the policemen committed the offence, they will be dealt with in accordance with the law. The telephone number of CP and my telephone number are all over the place. We asked the lady that rather than going on the social media, why did she not make effort to come to a police station and report the matter because we would gone after the SARS officers immediately.

“The officers are now in detention.”   (Punch)

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IGP Meets Osinbanjo Over IPOB, Slams Wike |The Republican News

 yemiosinbajo
              Vice President Yemi Osinbajo

Eniola Akinkuotu, Abuja

Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo on Thursday met with the Inspector General of Police, Idris Abubakar, over the crisis between the Nigeria Army and the Indigenous People of Biafra in Abia State and some parts of Rivers State.

The IG also berated the Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, for claiming that men of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad were armed robbers.

Speaking to State House Correspondents at the end of the meeting which lasted almost an hour, the IG said the aim of the meeting was to ensure the security of all Nigerians.

Asked to be specific about strategies he was adopting as regards events in the South-East, he said all critical stakeholders which include governors were being engaged to find a lasting peace.

He said, “Obviously, one, is to deploy policemen across the country, two, we are in touch with the state government, trying to mobilize the political leadership to be able to intervene where necessary on how to lessen the tension in the South-East.

Repeated clashes between Nigerian soldiers and IPOB agitators led by Nnamdi Kanu, forced Governor Okezie Ikpeazu to declare a three-day dusk-to-dawn curfew in the state.

The police boss also described as nonsense, Wiki’s allegation that the reported killing of a SARS officer during a foiled kidnap operation on Monday in the Oroazi area of the state was a confirmation that his men were involved in armed robbery and kidnapping.

Idris said, “He (Wike) has the right to self-expression. You know he is a governor.”

Asked if he was not denying the allegation he replied, “Of course I have to deny that, that is nonsense. I have to deny that.

“If a policeman was killed will you say he was involved in crime? I think you are mixing two different issues. A policeman was killed in Rivers in connection with this IPOB issue, is different from saying policemen are involved in crime. You cannot say someone that was attacked and killed is the one involved in crime.”

When reminded that the governor alleged that the dead policeman was one of the three men that were suspected to be members of SARS who were attempting to kidnap someone and he died in the process, the IGP replied, “Who is the person they were attempting to kidnap?

“I just want you to read between the lines. If you have leaders making sweeping allegations obviously it does not make sense.”  (Punchng.com)

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