IG probes SARS over extra-judicial killings, misconduct

Concerned about allegations of extrajudicial killings and other acts of professional misconduct against officers and personnel of the Special Anti- Robbery Squad (SARS), the Inspector-General of Police, Mr. Ibrahim Idris, has ordered the reorganisation of the special unit. Apart from the squad’s reorganisation, the IGP also ordered investigation of complaints made against personnel.

The directives were contained in a statement signed yesterday by the Force Public Relations Officer (FPRO), Mr. Jimoh Moshood, a Chief Superintendent of Police (CSP). The development came barely 24 after a sustained social media campaign (#ENDSARSNOW) against activities of the special police unit.

Before the Force Headquarters’ directive, there had been widespread reports of SARS’ operatives allegedly acting at variance with standard operation.

Though, SARS was established primarily to fight cases of armed robbery, there had been allegations of personnel dabbling into land/property dispute, relationships and other civil matters, which its mandate did not cover.

Among prominent personalities that had raised serious concerns over SARS’ alleged misconduct, is the Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, who, on several occasions, had called for the redeployment of the Commander, Federal SARS in his state, CSP Akin Fakorode.

But, the Police, in a statement by Moshood, said the litany of complaints would be thoroughly investigated, with a view to bringing errant officers to deserved justice. As part of the reorganisation process, the FPRO said the Federal Squad would, henceforth, be brought under the control of a Commissioner of Police (CP), and domiciled in the Department of Operations, Force Headquarters Abuja.

Also, Zonal and State Commands, as well as Divisions, will operate “anticrime units” and other crime prevention squads. Moshood said: “The Nigeria Police Force has observed the recent trends of event in the Social Media on the #ENDSARSNOW and the controversy being generated by the innuendos from the allegations and other misconceptions as it concerns the operational roles and activities of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), a detachment of the Nigeria Police Force.

“Undoubtedly, SARS has been doing very well in fighting violent crimes such as armed robbery, kidnappings and cattle rustling in the country in the recent time and this has resulted in drastic reduction of incidents of the mentioned violent crimes nationwide.

“However, the Inspector General of Police, concerned with public interest and the need to reposition SARS for more efficiency and effective service delivery to all Nigerians and ensure that SARS operates based on international core value of policing with integrity and make sure the rule of law prevails in the operations and activities of the outfit, has directed the immediate re-organization of SARS nationwide and instant investigation into all the allegations, complaints and infractions levelled against the personnel of SARS across the country by the IGP X-Squad of the Force.

“In the new arrangement, a Commissioner of Police is now the overall head of the Federal Anti- Robbery Squad nationwide under the Department of Operations, Force Headquarters Abuja.” This was as he added that zonal and state commanders of F-SARS, will be officers between the ranks of Chief Superintendent of Police (CSP) and Superintendent of Police (SP).

His words: “The Police Zonal Commands, State Commands and Divisions will continue to operate anti-crime units/sections, crime prevention and control squads and teams, imperative to prevent and detect crimes and criminalities in their Area of Responsibilities, and other crack squads necessary to sustain law and order and protection of life and properties in their Area of Responsibilities (AOR).

“Federal Anti-Robbery Squad (F-SARS) will now exist and operate in the State and Zonal Commands under the Commissioner of Police (F-SARS) at the Force Headquarters. A Federal SARS Commander of a rank of Chief Superintendent of Police (CSP) and not below Superintendent of Police (SP) will be in charge of F-SARS in State and Zonal Commands across the Country.

“All Commissioners of Police have been directed by the Inspector General of Police to comply with this directive with immediate effect and warn their personnel not to pose as SARS operatives.

The IGP XSquad has been mandated to go round the Commands and Police Formations nationwide to ensure strict compliance and apprehend any erring police officer.

“Furthermore, a new training programme to be organized by the Force, in collaboration with some Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), local and international NGOs, and other human rights organizations on core police duties, observant of human rights and handling, care and custody of suspects have been directed by the Inspector General of Police for all Federal SARS personnel nationwide with immediate effect.”

Source: https://newtelegraphonline.com/2017/12/ig-probes-sars-extra-judicial-killings-misconduct/

Nigeria’s #ENDSARS campaign at police brutality video

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Nigeria’s police chief has ordered an immediate re-organisation of the anti-robbery unit after a social media outcry over alleged police brutality.

The campaign began when footage was shared allegedly showing the aftermath of the police killing of a young man.

Many Nigerians responded with their own accounts of their ordeals at the hands of officers from the Anti-Robbery Squad SARS, using the hash tag #ENDSARS.

Nigeria’s police has long been accused of human rights abuses and corruption.

On Sunday, a video was posted on Twitter showing an angry mob chasing after a black van, allegedly containing SARS officers fleeing the scene after killing a man.

An online petition was launched calling for SARS to be disbanded, while some shared graphic videos of alleged police brutality.

“The SARS here in Port Harcourt go about with cutlasses and axe, red ribbons and bandana around their arm or head. Sick something” @tickin_clocks tweeted.

“I was stopped at Iwo road by SARS, my bags and phones were searched and found nothing. Took all the chocolate I bought for my sis” @Dabidamioraye

Initially, the Nigerian Police Force tried to downplay the issue by tweeting: “If u’ve contact with SARS personnel and u’ve any complaints about deir actions or inactions, u’re at liberty 2 report deir conducts 2 various platforms provided by the NPF to deal with unprofessional conduct of members of the Force rather dan call 4 end SARS 08057000001”.

However, Inspector General of Police Ibrahim Idris later ordered an “instant investigation into all the allegations, complaints and infractions levelled against the personnel of the Special Anti Robbery Squad across the country”.

Segun Awosanya, who started the petition, told BBC Pidgin that there would be a protest to Aso Rock, seat of power of the Nigerian government in January, if the government does not disband SARS by the end of 2017.

Nigerians Decry Impunity by SARS, Ask FG, N’Assembly to Scrap It

Apparently fed up with the increasing impunity of officers of the Special Anti Robbery Squad (SARS) of the Nigeria Police have gone about their duties, Nigerians from all works of life have begun a social media drive aimed at scraping the unit.

The demand to scrap SARS is being championed by the hashtag #EndSARS and is dominated by hundreds of complaints of people who have either fallen victim to the squad or their family members.

The hashtag was littered with complaints of wanton and illegal arrests, acts of extra-judicial killings, physical assaults, intimidation, accusations of fraud and forcefully dispossessing people of their money and properties.
Already, a petition has been started on citizengo.org tasking the federal government, the National Assembly and the police to put a stop to the reign of impunity.

The campaign which was started by Segun Awosanya read this: “For over 10 years now the growing criminal activities of the Nigeria Police with emphasis on the SARS across Nigeria has been a topical discourse, until recently when it took a deadly turn.

“Thousands of reports pour in daily on the activities of these deadly and lawless bunch (SARS), with evidence backed accusations of extra judicial killings, robberies at gun point and torture.

“The Nigeria Police set up to protect the people are now a major threat to our society, torturing (youthful) victims with complete impunity while instilling a toxic climate of fear, intimidation and corruption.
“The social media is awash with eyewitness reports as well as victim accounts of this seeming legal racket across Nigerian states.

“The pattern of human rights violations where victims are arrested and tortured until they either make a false confession to free themselves and/or be marched to an ATM machine to cough out a huge sum as bribe as a mandatory condition for release.

“Our youths are now endangered and more cases of extortion, torture and extra judicial killings (after which victims are labelled as cultists or robbers) are on the rise on the daily.
“There seem to be a huge cover up here and the undersigned citizens call upon the Nigerians legislature for an immediate intervention.

“A few commissioners of police have been helpful (case in point, Lagos) leading to the apprehension of some of these criminals with subsequent charges by competent courts but there’s a lot more work to be done as more cases surface even as we speak.”

In another petition to the National Assembly he said, “The activities of the SARS across Nigeria is tainting the image of the Nigerian Police. We have been following up on diverse cases for over two years now and we must say that it has since escalated to an alarming rate.

“The public feedback on social media as well as editorials in the print media is alarming to the point that it seems we have the very same criminals in the society in the police as we speak and this calls for the declaration of a State of Emergency on our policing.

“On behalf of Nigerians under siege and those who are not lucky enough to survive the onslaught of the SARS, may we humbly ask that you address this?

“It will go a long way for citizens to know you are listening and that they have at least representation at the helms that understand the duty of care our leaders owe to the people.
“Our hearts are broken as we speak with the feedbacks received across Nigeria on SARS’ illegal and exploitative activities with impunity.

“Nigerians are now demanding that the SARS be scrapped and the Police reformed.”
Other Nigerians who learnt their voice include Miller Ham who said, “Sometimes, one of the reasons you don’t see SARS or other members of NPF at a robbery scene is because they are involved in the robbery.
“They are either the robbers themselves, or are providing the robbers with support (i.e weapons, Intel etc). #EndSARS.”

Chinko Ekun said: “The brutality by SARS should be looked into and apprehended. They’re meant to protect and not instill unnecessary fear in the heart of youths. The incessant killings and harassment should stop. #EndSARS.”

Christopher Okagbare also said: “Enough of the humiliation, intimidation, extortion and murder. Every well meaning Nigerian must lend their voice. #EndSARS Now!”
Meanwhile, reacting to the recent brutalisation of a citizen by SARS officers, the Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Edgal Imohimi, said victims can reach out to the command to lay their complaints.

In a statement by the state police spokesman, SP Chike Oti, the CP
said: “In view of this, the commissioner of police wishes to encourage all residents of Lagos state who have complaints against police action or on any issue, to report to any of the police patrol vehicles which now serves as mini police station.

“They are parked conspicuously at vantage points across the state. They can also call on the Citizen Complaint Centre (CCC) established by the present commissioner of police through some cellular phone numbers.

“The cellular numbers include; 08067945296, 08063025274,
08113615350, 08113683077,
08096283148, 08096283183,
08089781657, 08126404930 and
08081426895.

“The commissioner of police further enjoins members of the public to take advantage of these complaint channels as matters reported will be treated speedily and the outcome made public in the usual frank manner.”

Similarly, the Police Public Complaint Response Unit (PCRRU), while responding, said it has opened channels through which the public can report complaints.

The unit made this call through a poster which they made public on their official Twitter handle.

According to the PCRRU, anyone with a complaint against SARS should call the following listed numbers; 08057000001 and 08057000001 for calls; 08057000003 for SMS and WhatsApp messages; 2BA2B5DE for BlackBerry messages; @PoliceNG_PCRRU for Twitter and www.facebook.com/PolicePCRRU for Facebook messages.

For those with access to email, complaint@npf.gov.ng and policepcrru@gmail.com was provided while www.npf.gov.ng/complaint was provided as the website.

The unit assured Nigerians through the poster that complaints would be handled swiftly as they purportedly do not tolerate impunity.

Source: https://www.thisdaylive.com/index.php/2017/12/04/nigerians-decry-impunity-by-sars-ask-fg-nassembly-to-scrap-it/

HUMAN RIGHTS AGENDA NETWORK CALLS OUT AGAINST DOMESTIC VIOLENCE ON WOMEN AND GIRLS IN NIGERIA IN ADVANCEMENT OF THE #16DAYSOFACTIVISIM ON ELIMINATION OF VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN.

December 2 2017.

Human Rights Agenda Network joins the rest of the world to advance for the elimination of violence against women with the theme: Leave no one behind: End violence against women and girls.

On this 8th day of #16daysofactivism, HRAN devotes attention to ‘domestic violence’. Domestic violence is a major violation of rights of women in Nigeria and across the world. Most perpetrators are never punished as millions of women and girls suffer death or disability from violence on then by spouses, intimate partners, or family members. HRAN calls on Nigerian governments at federal and state levels to advance efforts towards its eradication.

Domestic violence is a pattern of behavior that involves violence or other abuse by one person against another in a domestic setting, such as in marriage or cohabitation. In Nigeria, the occurrence of domestic violence is often linked to the cultural belief that is socially right to hit a woman to discipline her. This form of violence has been on the increase with no hope of lessening given the very low reportage in Nigeria. Domestic violence has multiplier effects on the victim ranging from mental, health, physical and psychological and it is evident that more than two thirds of women and girls are victims of this form of violence. In a small scale study conducted in Lagos and Oyo states, it revealed that nearly 65% of educated women have been beaten by their husbands while 56% percent of low income market women have experienced similar violence. Domestic violence is a serious violation of human rights which the Nigerian constitution is against. Despite the legal framework in Nigeria that takes special stand on elimination of violence against persons especially women and children such as the Violence Against Persons Prohibition (VAPP) Act 2015, and other provisions in Criminal and Penal Codes, this form has failed to receive full legal support as victims prefer to remain silent than leave and face societal ridicule.

The Human Rights Agenda Network therefore calls on NGOs, relevant government agencies, the security operatives, the courts and members of the public to rise up against this form of violence and desist from seeing domestic violence as a private and matrimonial affair but rather as an offence against the state.

The HRAN pledges its support to the Nigerian society and urges the government and NGOs to put more efforts on promotion of women’s rights and protection of victims of domestic violence.

 

Human Rights Agenda Network Urges Nigerian Government and Stakeholders on Eradication of Female Genital Mutilation.

December 3 2017.

On this 9th day of the #16daysactivism on elimination of violence against women, HRAN devotes attention to female genital mutilation/cutting.

 

Female genital mutilation is the ritual cutting or removal of some or all of the external female genitalia. The practice is rooted in gender inequality which attempts to control women’s sexuality, and ideas about purity, modesty and beauty.

 

Genital Mutilation is a major violation of women and rights of women in Nigeria and across the world. Despite the laws that advance the cause for eradication of this form of violence against women such as the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR), as well as several domestic statutes, this practice has continued to be on the increase given the deliberate silence by the government, groups and prominent individuals in the society. Most perpetrators are never punished as they are often shielded in most areas by the norms, beliefs, cultures, and systems that encourage this form of violence.

 

HRAN calls on Nigerian governments at federal and state levels, human rights activists, NGOs, and the media to put in more concerted efforts towards the eradication of this form of violence against women through the adoption and implementation of stricter laws like the Violence against Persons (Prohibition) Act 2015 that would prosecute perpetrators and create public awareness and sensitization aimed at addressing the health implications of this practice on women and girls.

 

 

Human Rights Watch condemns summary executions in eastern Libya

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Human Rights Watch condemned a series of summary executions of dozens of people in areas of eastern Libya under the control of controversial strongman Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar.
The New York-based watchdog called on Haftar’s Libyan National Army to make good on a promise to investigate the latest killings and to hand over a suspect wanted by the International Criminal Court in connection with previous executions.
Police discovered the bodies of 36 men, all of them executed, near Al-Abyar, 50 kilometers east of Libya’s second city Benghazi, on October 26.
Two days later, Haftar ordered the military prosecutor to investigate but no findings have been announced and no suspects have been detained.
“The LNA’s pledges to conduct inquiries into repeated unlawful killings in areas under their control in eastern Libya have so far led nowhere,” said HRW’s deputy Middle East and North Africa director, Eric Goldstein.
“The LNA will be condoning apparent war crimes if their pledge to investigate the gruesome discovery in Al-Abyar proves to be another empty promise,” he added.
A local security official said at the time that the bodies found in Al-Abyar belonged to suspected jihadists, 19 of them foreigners.
Human Rights Watch said it had reviewed multiple lists containing a total of 25 names of men found at Al-Abyar, but could not verify which were civilians and which, if any, were fighters affiliated with forces opposing the LNA.
However, it cited relatives of six of the dead as saying that they were civilians who had been taken from their homes by armed men in front of family members.
The Al-Abyar killings were the latest in a series of summary executions in areas of eastern Libya under Haftar’s control over the past two years.
In August, ICC judges issued an arrest warrant for Mahmoud Mustafa Busayf Al-Werfalli, a commander of the Benghazi-based Al-Saiqa brigade, on suspicion of involvement in war crimes including executions of 33 people.
Werfalli is accused of having ordered or personally carried out seven executions between March and July this year and in June 2016 that were filmed and posted to social media sites.
The LNA has said Werfalli is already in custody and will be tried by a military tribunal.
Libya has been wracked by lawlessness ever since the NATO-backed overthrow of longtime dictator Muammar Qaddafi in 2011.
It has two rival administrations — a UN-backed government based in the capital Tripoli and a rival one backed by Hafar in the east.

Source: http://www.arabnews.com/node/1201091/middle-east

Gender violence: Actionaid trains traditional rulers, others in Borno

As part of her deliberate efforts to reduce sexual gender based violence (GBV) among the vulnerable in liberated areas and other parts of Borno Satate, Actionaid Nigeria has embarked on training of traditional rulers and other stakeholders to create awareness against menace.

Against the backdrop of the training, participants under the tutelage of Actionaid have agreed to establish a network comprising of traditional rulers, security agencies, health personale, members of CSOs working on GBV, media, legal aid council, the judiciary etc for better coordination and coverage of GBV activities in the state.

The training which was conducted at Command Guest House Maiduguri had participants drawn from four local Governments of Kala-Bage, Kaga, Gwoza and Bama Local Government Areas of Borno State.

Actionaid had earlier trained about forty psycho-social support counselors who have already commenced psycho-social counseling services to the displaced people in liberated communities from the four local government councils.

Briefing journalists on the whole concept of the project after the training workshop, the Program Manager Health Actionaid Nigeria, Ms Marryann Obadike explained the project is fashioned towards Strengthening Sexual and Reproductive Health service provision in conflict affected communities in Northeast Borno state Nigeria (STRESPCIN) ,  a partnership agreement between ActionAid Nigeria and the United Nations for Population Fund (UNFPA).

She added that, “the goal of the project is to reduce excessive maternal mortality and morbidity in the targeted states and the output of the project is to increase national capacity to provide sexual and reproductive health services in humanitarian settings

“ActionAid Nigeria is expected to scale up care and support services that will contribute towards the reduction of maternal mortality and morbidity in this conflict affected states through the provision of Integrated Sexual Gender Based Violence (SGBV) interventions and Sexual and Reproductive Health services based on the Minimum Initial Service Package for Reproductive Health in humanitarian settings (MISP).

“The project seeks to improve the provision of SGBV prevention and response and Reproductive Health services including psychosocial support in humanitarian settings in these affected areas. The project also plans towards increased awareness and knowledge of communities on Sexual Reproductive Health (SRH) issues, SGBV prevention and response services that are gender-responsive and meet human rights standards for quality of care and equity in access,”she said.

While speaking on the strategies to achieving the overall goal of the project, Ms Obadike said; “The project has as its strategies; Capacity Building, Systems Strengthening, Awareness Creation, Community Engagement, Promoting Integrated Partnership, Granting and Knowledge Management. Each of these strategies have a number of activities to be carried out that will all eventually lead towards the attainment of the projects overall goal.

“Part of the ongoing activities under the Systems Strengthening component, is the training of psychosocial support counselors (PSS) on prevention and response to GBV,” she explained.

Both the Zanna of Gwoza, Wali Ibrahim Abu and the District Head of Rann ,  Kala-Bage Local Government , Babagana Shettima  told our correspondent that the training has added to their knowledge on how to deal with the Sexual Gender Based Violence which they admitted are prevalent in their communities.

Both were in agreement to ensure that cases of SGBV are no longer covered or hidden in their domains, pledging that whoever commits such offence would be exposed and handed over to the appropriate quarters not minding how highly placed such a person maybe in the community.

Both traditional rulers promised to step up their campaigns against SGBV by creating more awareness in their localities.

Source: http://thenationonlineng.net/gender-violence-actionaid-trains-traditional-rulers-others-borno/

WARDC Tasks Government On Gender-Based Violence

The Federal Government has been advised to urgently create more institutions that can address the root causes of gender-based violence, the impunity that often goes with the scourge, implement policies and enact laws that can support victims and survivors.

According to the Founding Director, Women Advocates Research & Documentation Centre, WARDC, Dr. Abiola Akiyode-Afolabi, who made this appeal in commemoration of this year’s global 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence, curtailing gender-based violence is crucial to national growth.

Dr. Akiyode-Afolabi said: “Gender-based violence is hindering national productivity as it is occurring amongst people in the productive age group, who have to deal with its physical and psychological consequences.

“This year alone, WARDC received and responded to about 2,151 cases of gender-based violence, including rape, acid attacks, molestation, wife beating and corporal punishment.”

She, however, commended Ogun State House of Assembly on the passage of the Violence Against Persons Prohibition Bill, calling on Governor Ibikunle Amosu to ensure the bill becomes a law as soon as possible.

She revealed the commencement of a two-week public awareness programme by WARDC, tagged Leave No One Behind: Ending Violence Against Women and Girls, which will feature football matches in Lagos, Bauchi, Borno and Ogun states.

Source: http://allafrica.com/stories/201711290204.html