As part of efforts to drive home its seriousness, the ongoing #EndSARS movement has unveiled a 10-point demand, calling on the Federal Government to immediately scrap the unit.
The Movement, in a statement on Saturday by Human Rights Activist, Segun Awosanya, said “The brutality of the Police Force goes far back to our past; but the current tragic spike in the killings of innocent Nigerians stems from the ill-thought-out repeal of the operating procedures by the IGP on assumption of office two years ago. As we all recall the operating procedures negotiated with the police hierarchy by civil rights campaigners- were put in place to stem the impunity of the killer elite squads — SARS, SACS, SAKS and others operating in the shadows — at least as a stop-gap measure pending the passing of relevant bills, which today have all manifested as Laws in Nigeria.
“However, the EndSARS Movement, as well as other well-meaning Nigerians, has consistently warned about the imminent consequences of allowing the elite killer squads of the Police Force to operate without a discernible command and control structure, a proper channel of reporting and clear hierarchy for discipline. Tragically, the warnings have gone unheeded. The consequences are today the spates of killings that we are currently experiencing across our country, the latest being 92 cases since March 2019 to February 2020 (according to The Cable Index) and several others piling up afterwards.
“When our country is saddled with a Police Force that operates outside the bounds of law, without operational restraints — the culture of impunity, spawned by such inhuman chants of police officers like “I will kill you and Nothing will happen” and “I must kill someone today”, what we get may not only be killer squads that reign supreme but a Police Force that have gone rogue, killing and maiming defenceless citizens as strengthened by the culture of impunity.
“Our lives- the lives of all citizens — matter and we must continue to demand that men and women of the Police Force respect the sanctity of life and the lives of all Nigerians”.
The Movement made the following demands:
- That all killer squads (all tactical squads formations across board) of the Police Force be scrapped and their responsibilities transferred to proper structures within the police;
- That new and updated operational guideline on the use of arms which respect the Right to Life as preserved by the 1999 Constitution be issued;
- That the Police Force and the Federal Government MUST pay monetary compensation to all families of citizens felled by its rogue operatives;
- The Attorney General of the Federation must ensure the criminal prosecution of police officers named in the killings of Nigerians;
- While general overall responsibility (vicarious liability) lies with the Police Force, henceforth, the CP in charge of FSARS, CPs in charge of State Commands and FCT, as well as their supervisory Zonal AIGs, MUST be held liable for the conduct and misconduct of ALL personnel. within their jurisdiction in the prosecution of past incidents and future occurrences.
- There MUST be stiffer or capital punishment for cases of armed robbery by police officers especially tactical squads, should there be a better re-imagined structure that mirrors international standards and best practices.
- The 9th Assembly as a matter of urgency must review and strengthen the position of the Police Service Commission as an independent commission via constitutional amendment so as to enable it carry out its critical functions of Recruitment, Discipline and promotion of officers to fill the gap in the lack of leadership/responsibility. and effective supervision that is eroding the public trust in the system. NASS should also prioritize scheduled oversight reviews of the existing laws and recommendations for changes arising from execution challenges.
- Psychological evaluation, as well as the test of conversance with the new SOP that is drafted in compliance with the new police act 2020, MUST henceforth be criteria before guns are issued to any personnel.
- Human rights abuses and other contravention of the provisions of the Police Act MUST warrant immediate termination of employment followed by criminal prosecution.
- Cybercrimes investigation and enforcement are intelligence-based operations involving the amalgamation of technology, rule based collaborations and handshake with the legal arm of the justice function; not roadside phone searches and this indiscriminate abuse of searches MUST be criminalized.