The Nigerian Police and SARS brutality is one of several forms of police misconduct which involves undue violence by police officers. Widespread police brutality exists in many countries and territories, even those that prosecute it and although illegal, it was and is performed under the colour of law.
The Police form and its units are supposed to be law enforcement agencies who should guide and guard lives and properties of the Nigerian citizens, but over a year and half now, the SARS officers went rouge, beating, harassing and molesting the Nigerian youths especially. They have been accused of extortion, robbery, intimidation and extra-judicial killings on social media and through various public demonstrations for and against the continued existence of the dreaded anti-crime unit of the Nigeria Police Force.
March 2019 recorded the most number of reported killings by this department of the Nigerian police in the country and citizens seem to be in a very helpless situation.
The brutality increased as the rate of cyber crimes increased in the country and this left every young man carrying a laptop or having dread locks a suspect of Yahoo Yahoo. One had to work on the streets of Nigeria with so much care and caution so as not to be apprehended. Females were the most saved and the male folks, were mostly victimised.
As the year comes to an end tonight, we bring you a list of some Nigerians who were victims of the SARS and Police brutality and harassment.
1. Bus Driver: It happened on the 2nd of March when some trigger-happy police officers reportedly shot an unidentified bus driver dead in Mosan, Ayobo area of Lagos for refusing to part with money. According to an eye witness, the officers were trying to collect money from the unidentified driver, but he did not give them and this got one of them to shoot him. When they confirmed him dead, they tried to flee but were stopped by an angry mob. “The bus conductor and other passers-by chased them and were able to catch two of the officers. We held them and were trying to force them to carry the corpse to their station“, the eye witness said.
Two weeks after the bus driver’s demise, a teenage girl was killed by a stray bullet in a shootout between policemen and some cultists in Ikorodu.
2. Ademola Moshood: On March 25, an Okada rider was shot dead in Kilo, Surulere area of Lagos. Ademola was said to be a few blocks away from his house when he was shot by an officer attached to Soloki Police Station, Surulere.
3. Kolade Johnson: Kolade Johnson, was murdered on Sunday, March 31 by operatives of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) who had visited his area in an unmarked commercial bus to arrest one of the boys of a major music producer who was wearing dreadlocks. The Nigerian Police Force confirmed the incidence, claiming that the victim was shot during a Nigeria’s anti-cultism police unit raid. Members of the unit were said to be searching for a suspect and at one point fired into the air, Johnson’s family and lawyer had told CNN. The 36-year-old father and a friend were leaving a soccer viewing centre in the area, where they had gone to watch a Premiership league match when a stray bullet hit and killed Johnson, his family and lawyer said. Johnson died at the hospital while waiting for treatment, according to his sister Toluwani Lukman. Coming under various trending hashtags that include: Kolade Johnson, #EndSARSNow #PoliceReforms #EndPoliceBrutality and #JusticeForKolade, the discussion generated scathing remarks on the police action, with celebrities joining in the conversion to condemn the killings.
4. Kofi Bartels: Kofi is a Port-Harcourt based journalist with Nigeria Info who took to Twitter to share the ordeals he suffered from the Special Anti-Robbery Squad department of the Nigerians Police Force. According to him, he had seen some SARS officers manhandling a boy while trying to arrest him on 5th June, and he went to plead with them only to meet his waterloo too. “Yesterday, I was driving in my area and saw SARS officers beating up a boy who lives in the area. His mum fries akara for a living and I knew immediately that they wouldn’t be able to ‘settle’ the officers. He kept shouting, ‘What have I done’, as they tried to force him into their bus. They were beating the hell out of him and don’t know if he would have survived. I made to go plead with them but at a point hesitated and chose to take a shot of the bus and number plate.”
Bartel on hospital bed after the beating from F-SARS officers
When they noticed what he was doing, the cops left the boy and pounced on him in what he described as ‘the beating of his life’. “They started by smashing my knees repeatedly with wooden bars. As I type this, my left knee is swollen and my right knee seriously bruised. I have pains in my head, neck and back. I was handcuffed like a common criminal and shots were fired to disperse a small crowd that had gathered. After a second round of beating, I was taken to SARS HQ in Port Harcourt where I was beaten more mercilessly by the SARS officers who took me there. About three others also joined in. They are took turns to slap, punch, and kick me while I was struggling with a swollen knee. At least six officers, one at a time. One swore he would have ‘wasted’ me if his team were the one that picked me up.
I was told to get ready to be thrown into their cell where I would receive the worst torture, including sexual abuse by male inmates. I was saved at the last minute when word got to their former boss and they were ordered to release me unconditionally. The pains were unbearable last night and I’ll have to go for a skull and knee X-ray today. A couple of them told me to watch my back, saying this is my end in Rivers State, due to the human rights issues we treat on radio involving SARS and the police generally. My phones were seized and I had no way of communicating with anyone. Several times, I’ve had to use my media platform to shout on behalf of the voiceless in our society who have had their rights trampled upon by people meant to protect them. I got my own first hand experience yesterday. Some of the officers made me know how they felt about that…. literally“, he tweeted.
Read also: Shocker! Rapper Ikechukwu Reveals He Was Kidnapped By SARS Operatives And Drained Of His ATM Balance
5. The last but not the least on this list is this video below of a battle between SARS officers and the young man as it surfaced on Twitter. According to reports, the SARS officers had seen him on the street and harassed him, asking that he handed his phone over. The young man was adamant saying they have no right to demand his phone and we guess you know what happened next. Watch for yourself…
"I Know My Rights, You have no Right to Search My Phone" – Young Nigerian Guy Cries Out As SARS Police Officers Mercilessly beat Him Up All bcos He had 2 phones and Refused to Unlock the Expensive one, they seized it, told him to Come to Alagbon FCIID to Retrieve, Pls RT #Endsars pic.twitter.com/gHz2FFWXl9
— Gossip Mill Nigeria (@GossipMillNaija) April 12, 2019