Tuesday, December 12, 2017

SARS a legacy of military dictatorship that needs to be completely overhauled – Falana

Femi Falana, lawyer and rights activist, says operatives of the special anti-robbery squad (SARS), a police unit, are becoming a problem “even for the Nigeria police force”.

The senior advocate of Nigeria (SAN) said this when he featured on a Channels TV programme.

Falana agreed that SARS operatives were “overstepping their boundaries” but he said necessary regulations to checkmate their activities had been put in place.

“Any demonstration by Nigerians against any perceived injustice should be encouraged,” he said.

“But as far as I am concerned, with due respect to those protesting against SARS and calling for its proscription, while their efforts are commendable, they must be made to appreciate the fact that the law has taken care of all their concerns.

“What we are therefore required to do is to ensure that the laws are enforced.

“The operatives of SARS are becoming a problem, even for the police force.”

Falana said in 2014, he conducted a study about crime in Nigeria and found “to my utter dismay that 532 people were paraded by the police; armed robbery and kidnap suspects, in all the states and the FCT”.

“At the end of the day, I asked the police, can we know the courts were these individuals are being tried. But I didn’t get a reply,” he added.

“And my finding was to the effect that most of them were extra-judicially killed in this country.

“I do not know when last I witnessed the trial of an armed robbery suspect in any of our courts till today. No trial takes place; they are simply wasted.”

When asked by the programme anchor his views on the police’ claim that crimes have been on the decrease as a result of the efforts of SARS operatives, the activist replied: “No, armed robbery cases are on the increase. A lot of armed robbery cases are being reported.”

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