Democratic Socialist Movement

For Struggle, Solidarity and Socialism in Nigeria

By - DSM

End the Horrible and Illegal Acts of the Osun State Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) Now

End the Horrible and Illegal Acts of the Osun State Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) Now

We in the Campaign for Democratic and Workers’ Rights (CDWR), Osun State Chapter, hereby decry the horrible and illegal conducts of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) of the Osun State Police Command, which itself has been robbing the poor people and youths of their freedom and democratic rights. This so called anti-robbery body has become a terror on the ordinary people the state. We call on the Osun State government to wade in and stop these horrible attacks on democratic rights. We also call on Police authorities to end the illegal, undemocratic and horrible conducts of SARS.

This SARS has brought back the horrible reminiscence of the Oyinlola/PDP era, when hundreds of people were clamped into detention, and several others brutally wounded by the same SARS on political ground. It is unfortunate that these horrible scenarios are rearing their ugly heads under the current Aregbesola/APC government. Indiscriminate arrests of people at public places without warrants have become the norm in the state. This barbaric body arrests people on the slightest excuse not justified in law. Officers and men of the Police in the SARS arrest people both during the day and night; even ordinary passers-by are arrested at the whim and caprices of the men of this body. They adhere to no law and control. It has become a rabid dog of the Nigerian Police.

More than this, those arrested are not only physically assaulted but also illegally remanded in police cells under inhuman conditions without recourse to the court. There have been several cases of malicious attacks leading to serious and life threatening injuries on victims of this terrible organization of the Nigerian Police. Cases of people chained permanently to fixed objects without giving them the right to fair-hearing are very common. Many are currently in SARS detention without any legal representation. This SARS has become a tool of organized exploitation, extortion and torture, as their victims are beaten even with cutlasses to subdue them.

While we are not against the Police in the discharge of its legal responsibility of protecting the society and preventing crimes, we strongly condemn the use of illegal and undemocratic methods that infringe on the rights of the people to fight crime. These methods have themselves become criminal acts that should ordinarily necessitate investigation and prosecution of police officers and men who engage in such methods, as these methods are criminal and illegal in their intent and usage. Moreover, these illegal and dangerous methods can generate more anger and push many young people into criminal acts, in an attempt to avenge injustice meted out to them by this SARS.

This is more so that many of those being terrorized and criminalized by the Police through this organization called SARS are young Nigerians struggling to eke a living from arduous work. Millions of these young people have been denied means of livelihood by Nigerian governments at all levels, who have destroyed the economy and social infrastructures of the society, in spite of the enormous wealth of the country; thus condemning millions of our young people to lives of joblessness and poverty. It is bad enough that the Nigerian government at all levels cannot provide jobs and basic social infrastructures to the poor and working people, they should not add to the problem of the ordinary people by criminalizing them through SARS.

We make bold to state that the Police can effectively fight crime and secure society without necessarily engaging in undemocratic methods and acts that undermine its role in the society. It is clearly backward and primitive for the police to arrest people at random because they want to verify whether they are criminals or not. It is equally illegal and wrongful to molest, harass or torture innocent civilians by physically assaulting them with cutlasses, etc. under the guise of getting confessions. This is meting out justice without recourse to the law. Freedom of movement is sacrosanct and inalienable right of persons, which cannot be lightly taken away. These events show why it is so necessary for the police to be under genuine democratic control of the working people and communities.

We call on the Police authorities in Osun State and Nigeria to stop these horrible acts of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) of the Osun State Police Command. We also call on the trade unions and pro-masses organizations in Osun state openly condemn this barbaric action of the police and be prepared to organise mass activities including protests and strike if necessary.

Kola Ibrahim
CDWR Osun State Coordinator