Disband Violent Police Unit With a Reported Record of Human Rights Violations

Target: Mohammed Adamu, Inspector General of the Nigeria Police Force

Goal: Fully disband controversial police unit without replacing it with a duplicate unit.

Nigerian police officials responded to public pressure to disband the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), a unit with a decades-long record of reported corruption, extortion, and extreme violence towards civilians. Since their formation in 1992, SARS officers have been accused of dozens of cases of robbery, torture, illegal detention, and extrajudicial killings. The decision to disband the unit came as a result of years of protests culminating in the alleged murder of a 20-year old man followed by the apparent theft of his vehicle, both committed by SARS officers.

However, the apparent victory was tainted by the announcement that SARS would immediately be replaced by another unit to be called the Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) team. Because the Nigeria Police Force has seemingly refused to punish criminal actions committed by officers in the past, instead reassigning them without effective reforms, critics have charged that SWAT would be little more than a second SARS without addressing the root issues.

Anger at the actions of violent police officers is widespread throughout Nigerian society, and officials’ efforts to paper over the problem and carry on with business as usual is a grave mistake and an abuse of public trust. Sign the petition below to demand that the new unit be disbanded to begin meaningful change in Nigerian law enforcement.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Inspector General Adamu,

Plans to replace the reportedly violent and corrupt Special Anti-Robbery Squad with a unit which would likely include many former SARS personnel and fulfill the same role are a mockery of international demands for justice and reform. SARS officers were entrusted for years with the power to seemingly profile, attack, and victimize practically anyone they chose to target.

This apparent abusiveness will not disappear without a fundamental change in police policies and public accountability. Forming a new unit to simply replace the old one is not that change. I demand that you cease forming the new Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) team and commit to real reform instead.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Tobi James




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