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Report identifies impunity as cause of #EndSARS uprising

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A research report on the nationwide #EndSARS uprising has identified impunity on the part of security operatives as the main cause.

A coalition of over 50 civil society groups across the country, Action Group on Free Civic Space (AGFCS), compiled the 87-page report after investigating major flashpoints like Awkuzu in Anambra State and other parts of the South-East.

Nigerian youths had, in October 2020, taken to the streets, demanding the disbandment of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) of the police force, which was accused of all impunity.

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At the presentation of the research report, titled, “#EndSARS: Police Brutality, Protests And Shrinking Civic Space in Nigeria” in Ikeja, Lagos, at the weekend, leaders of the coalition said the protests took so long to happen.

Executive Director, Rule of Accountability and Law Centre (RULAAC), Okechukwu Nwanguma, said: “Impunity is the single major factor inhibiting police reform. Impunity is fuelling outrage and resentment among the populace. In fact, it is surprising that #EndSARS took so long to happen. It should have happened earlier.”

While Bolton of Policy Alert said #EndSARS was an expression of bottled-up angst against what Nigerians have lived with for so long, Ibezim-Ohaeri of Spaces for Change (S4C) said the report was based on the outcome of a joint fact-finding mission by members of AGFCS to the South-East, with special focus on Awkuzu SARS

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“#EndSARS protesters campaigning against police brutality faced resistance from the Nigerian government, with state actors at the federal and state levels employing a variety of tactics to suppress the protests,” Ibezim-Ohaeri added.

The coalition, therefore, suggested steps to be taken by the Federal Government to curb police brutality in the country.

“Look into all cases of and allegations of unlawful detention, extortion, torture and human rights abuses by any personnel of the police force, including the defunct SARS, embark on strict and conscious implementation of the Police Act 2020, strengthen the capacities of oversight bodies like the Complaints Response Unit (CRU), Ministry of Police Affairs (MOPA), Police Service Commission (PSC) and the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) to enforce discipline in the Nigeria Police Force (NPF).”
conduct an inquiry to respond to public allegations expressed in the report and elsewhere.”

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