Nigerians say Amnesty International report on police extortion is the absolute truth

According to a newly released report by Amnesty International (AI), “an elite Nigerian police squad set up to combat violent crimes is torturing detainees to extract lucrative bribes and confessions.” This Nigerian police squad that was thoroughly investigated by AI is the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS). The report of the special police squad’s notorious and inhumane activities have been widely reported by foreign news sites yet Nigerian news blogs are yet to catch up on the story.

In this article by The Independent, testimonies of alleged victims of torture was detailed.

The Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris in an interview with AlJazeera utterly denied the claims made in the Amnesty International report. According to IGP Idris, “the Nigerian Police has never ever been involved in any elements or issues of torture in all its activities in the course of investigations all over the country.” He further went on to say that the allegations made by AI are false.

Prodding the man for further information on the matter would be a waste of time when there are thousands of Nigerians who will be willing to, and fearlessly so, share their horrid experiences with the Nigerian Police Force, in general. Author and satirist, El Nathan John took to Twitter to drive this conversation as sanely as possible, with polls and retweets of summaries of personal experiences.

The conversation began like this:

The polls were put out there:

Then, the responses flooded in:

Though these tweets do not reflect the activities of SARS, the police unit at the centre of Amnesty International’s report, they chronicle some of the ills of the police force. Unlawful arrest and detention, extortion, torture even in the slightest forms are what Nigerians suffer daily in the hands of the police force.

The IGP may have defended his boys right before international audiences but the experiences shared above validate all the claims made in that report. If the Federal Government is to rid the country of corruption, it must start by investigating the unavoidable deaths that cannot be accounted for but have occurred in the custody of SARS. This will amount to taking the published report seriously and equally send the right signals to members of the international community who are keenly watching.

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