The investigation against the 22 SARS police revealed serious human rights violations in the performance of their duties. An internal investigation into a controversial police unit of the Nigerian Police (SARS) recommended that 22 police officers be prosecuted.
This is the decision of the panel of experts to investigate allegations of widespread human rights violations by the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS).
SARS is the unit responsible for combating armed robbery, kidnapping and organized crime throughout the country. But the unit has been accused of extrajudicial executions, arbitrary arrests, torture, and extortion.
President Muhammadu Buhari asked the group to make recommendations on how to hold police officers involved in these breaches to account. In addition to prosecution, the panel recommended that the police pay compensation to 45 individuals who have filed a complaint against SARS.
President Buhari said the recommendations will be implemented within three months and that police should be held accountable for their actions. “In carrying out their statutory responsibilities, the Police must at all times act within the ambit of the law and must not violate the fundamental human rights of Nigerians whom they have sworn to protect.”
“Where the rights of Nigerians are violated by Police Officers while discharging their functions, we as the Government have a responsibility to address these instances of violation, and ensure that such Police Officers are held accountable for their actions.”
In 2017, the #EndSars campaign was launched on Twitter at a time when Nigerian citizens complained about police brutality. The campaign was mainly triggered by viral images that showed the consequences of the alleged murder of a young man by the police.
Many Nigerians began to report spontaneously the abuses they suffered when in the hands of SARS officers.