According to The Punch, Special Anti-Robbery Squad, a unit of the Nigeria Police Force has been accused by Amnesty International, of torturing suspects and demanding huge amount of money to free them.
In a report published on its website on Wednesday the group alleged that officers attached to SARS were getting rich from lucrative bribes.
The report explained that detainees were subjected to “horrific torture methods, including hanging, starvation, beatings, shootings and mock executions, at the hands of corrupt SARS officers.
AI said it received reports from lawyers, human rights defenders and journalists and collected testimonies stating that some police officers in SARS regularly demand bribes, steal and extort money from criminal suspects and their families.
Damian Ugwu, the Amnesty International’s Nigeria researcher, said:
“A police unit created to protect the people has instead become a danger to society, torturing its victims with complete impunity while fomenting a toxic climate of fear and corruption.
“Our research has uncovered a pattern of ruthless human rights violations where victims are arrested and tortured until they either make a ‘confession’ or pay officers a bribe to be released.”
“SARS officers are getting rich through their brutality. In Nigeria, it seems that torture is a lucrative business.”
32 year old Chidi Oluchi’s experience with SARS:
“They started beating me with the side of their machetes and heavy sticks. My mouth was bleeding and my vision became blurred,” he was quoted as saying in the report, adding that he was released after paying SARS officers N25,500 ($80).
A 25-year-old fuel attendant in Onitsha, Anambra State said his experience with SARS:
“The policemen asked me to sign a plain sheet. When I signed it, they told me I have signed my death warrant. They left me hanging on a suspended iron rod. My body ceased to function. I lost consciousness. When I was about to die they took me down and poured water on me to revive me.”