The Chairman, Senate Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters has commended the Federal Government for disbanding the Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad (FSARS) and the State Special Anti-Robbery Squads (SARS).
The Senator who spoke with journalists at the Senate wing of the National Assembly Tuesday, added that the banning should include for now, other units of the Nigeria Police Force operating in mufti , such as the Intelligence Response Team (IRT) the Special Tactical Squad (STS) and the Anti-Kidnapping Squads , going by unprofessional conducts of some of their operatives .
He specifically said the ban on SARS was a prompt response to the series of nationwide protests and global outrage on the social media against unethical and unprofessional conducts of sizeable number of their operatives who take delight in unbridled deployment of lethal weapons on innocent citizens .
“Unwarranted threats to lives and unlawful killing of citizens, degrading search of mobile phones and other smart electronic devices in utter disrespect to citizens’ privacy, gross violation of citizens’ rights, extortion of money from their helpless victims and other incidents of abuse of police powers”, he added .
He stressed that the dissolution of the SARS by the Federal Government was not only a commendable development but was the most decisive and laudable action that Government needed to take as a first step towards reforming the Nigerian police and restructuring the nation in line with democratic tenets and global best practices.
He however, commiserated with the families of the protesters and policemen who lost their lives in the course of the nationwide protest.
The Federal lawmaker pointed out that given the incessant acts of police brutality and gross violation of citizens’ rights with impunity, the Federal Government should go beyond the dissolution of SARS and immediately commence the implementation of the report of the presidential investigative panel submitted to President Buhari by the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) in June 2019.
According to him, ‘’the implementation of the said Government white paper must be broad-based, transparent, comprehensive and accountable while all relevant agencies and stakeholders of the Civil Society community must be actively involved’’.
He promised that as the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters, he would ensure that the Committee, within its oversight mandate, closely monitors the implementation process to ensure that it conforms with global standards as well as the expectations of Nigerian citizens, home and abroad.
Further decrying the excesses of the now banned SARS operatives, Senator Bamidele maintained that Nigeria, as a fledging democratic nation, should have gone past the era of police brutality, extrajudicial killing of innocent citizens, illegal arrest, intimidation and harassment of the people by security operatives.
Those dismal and disgraceful pictures, which conditioned our nation during the prolonged military dictatorship in Nigeria he added, should never be allowed to rear their ugly heads again.
Accordimg to him, as other nations around the world are deliberately striving for the consolidation of democratic practices and are entrenching the ideals of social justice, ensuring the decent treatment of their citizenry and the building of a just, virile and equitable society in their respective polities, Nigeria cannot afford to lag behind and constitute herself as a clog in the wheel of the global efforts towards achieving a peaceful and decent world where the inalienable rights of citizens are recognized and respected by Government institutions, officials and private citizens.
While commending the protesters for exercising their fundamental rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly and for lending their voice to the collective clamour for the restructuring and reorganization of all Government institutions and systems in Nigeria, Bamidele urged them to remain calm, peaceful, coordinated and focused and should ensure that they press down their demands in a constitutional manner by not taking laws into their hands and not allow power-hungry politicians and agents of mischief trying to score cheap political points against the Government, hijack their protests.
He reiterated that as pillars of democracy and elected representatives of the people, members of the National Assembly have the constitutional mandate to ensure that the rights of Nigerian citizens are protected and their lives secured.
The Senate in particular, he stressed, would not fold its hands in cold complicity of silence while innocent people are being harassed, brutalized and killed by security operatives trained and armed with the tax payers’ money.
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