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#EndSARS: NBA sets up helplines to receive human rights abuse complaints

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Nigerian Bar Association on Friday announced plans to set up helplines to receive complaints of citizens’ human rights abuse and other Fundamental rights.

“On our part, my administration will be setting up dedicated helplines in the next few weeks to receive complaints about human right abuses by the Police and other security officers and I pledge that these complaints will be adequately tackled,” the association’s President Olumide Akpata said on Twitter.

“In the meantime, we urge all #EndSARS protesters to remain constructive in their agitations while calling on the different formations of the Nigerian Police to respect the fundamental rights of Nigerians including the freedoms of association, peaceful assembly and expression.”

Protests against police brutality and calling for the end of a controversial police unit, Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad, have been taking place since Wednesday across Nigeria.

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The protesters are seeking the dissolution of the SARS unit of the Nigeria Police Force over cases of harassment and extortion by its personnel.

The Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) of the police force which was put together to tackle robbery and crimes related to armed robbery within the country has now become known for its mode of operations across the nation by harassing many young Nigerians, especially men who spot dreadlocks and other forms of fancy head styles.

The NBA president, however, declared the actions of FSARS as inconsistent and a disregard of the Police Establishment Act and Nigeria’s Constitution.

Akpata, however, called on Nigeria’s President, the National Assembly, IGP to monitor and enforce the current directives, and put an end to the flagrant abuse and extrajudicial killings of Nigerians by these officers.

“It is thus regrettable that the organ of State, entrusted with the protection of the people, has constituted itself into a source of constant terror esp. to young Nigerians, to the extent of matching or surpassing the criminal elements from whom they were designed to protect,” Akpata said.

“The NBA is willing to engage with the IGP to undertake urgent training and enlightenment of @PoliceNG Officers in accordance with the recently passed Police Act to ensure effective implementation of the Act and more respect for the rights of citizens in a democratic State.”

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