Amnesty International has given knocks to the Special Anti-Robbery Squad which was accused of killing Kolade Johnson, who was shot dead while watching a Premier League match on Olu Aboderin Street, Lagos, on Sunday.
In a series of tweets, AI said the call to scrap SARS and reform the police had not been taking seriously.
Once again SARS is in the news for alleged brutalization of Nigerians. We have several times called for
“Many attempts to reform SARS, including the one ordered by Prof Osinbajo in August last year have been ineffective. Nigerians are still brutalized by SARS.
“Restructuring SARS is not enough unless the government takes concrete steps to protect Nigerians.
“Our research since 2016 uncovered a pattern of ruthless human rights violations by SARS, where victims are arrested and tortured until they either make a ‘confession’ or pay officers a bribe to be released.
“Because of corruption, SARS officers believe they have carte blanche to torture Nigerians. This is hardly surprising when many of these officers have bribed their way to SARS in the first place. The police chiefs in charge are themselves entwined in the corruption.
“SARS is a police unit created to protect the people, instead it has become a danger to society, torturing its victims with complete impunity while fomenting a toxic climate of fear and corruption.
“Apart from brutality, some police officers in SARS regularly demand bribes, steal and extort money from criminal suspects and their families. SARS officers are getting rich through their brutality. In Nigeria, it seems that torture is a lucrative business.
“SARS is often regarded as a “juicy” posting and is preceded by intense lobbying by potential officers. Officers sometimes pay superior officers responsible for transfers as much as N300,000 to influence their posting to SARS.
“Despite repeated calls from Amnesty International in recent years, the Nigerian justice system has failed to prevent or punish torture. Despite President Buhari signing into law the Anti-Torture Bill, police still torture Nigerians with impunity”, the rights organisation stated.