Ruggedman slams police spokesperson Yomi Shogunle over #EndSARS comment
Nigerian rapper, Michael Ugochukwu Stephens, known professionally as Ruggedman Wednesday slammed the assistant commissioner of Police, Yomi Shogunle, for allegedly misrepresenting his position on police brutality and perceived illegal activities of Nigerian Police’s Special Anti-robbery Squad (SARS).
Shogunle had earlier shared a photo of Ruggedman with a SARS officer and claimed that Ruggedman, one of the most vocal critiques and campaigner for the proscription of the squad, has now turned around to join those calling for SARS to be reformed instead.
The rapper, however, insisted that he has not changed his position.
“Officer Yomi Shogunle I have heard about how incompetent and dubious you are but this disgraceful act of yours takes the cake,” Ruggedman said in an Instagram post.
“This baseless and fabricated post of yours just goes to show you are a shameless liar and a disgrace to the Nigerian police force.”
The #EndSARS campaign began on social media to protest the activities of the police unit which have been accused of extortion, harassment, robbery, intimidation and extra-judicial killings.
In June, Ruggedman told Guardian Life that it was urgent for the Nigerian Police to call SARS officers off Nigerian roads.
He reiterated that point in his Instagram post on Wednesday.
“I AM ALL FOR #endsars until the force is reformed and reorientated on how to treat people as the humans they are”
In April, he released a video for his song, “Is Police Your Friend”, which deals with the issue of police brutality.
When asked if he has had any experience with the squad, Ruggedman said his only close experience with SARS came when his brother was arrested for no just cause.
“SARS stopped my brother, asked for his ID card. They pocketed it and asked him for money. He said he did have money. They took him around Lagos for about 3 hours with some other innocent people. They were eventually taken to Area H police station.”
“He called me and I contacted police PRO, Dolapo Badmus, who made sure everyone illegally arrested was released.”
He said the idea of the men and officers on the squad randomly picking up young Nigerians going about their lawful businesses and intimidate them into paying for their freedom was a bully tactic that should not be condoned.
He said “Whether they want to scrap or reform they should be taken off the street. They are special anti-robbery squad and should be out only when there is a need to.”
A 2016 report by Amnesty International indicates that persons detained by SARS, both men and women, “are subjected to various methods of torture and ill-treatment in order to extract information and ‘confessions’. Such methods include severe beating, hanging, starvation, shooting in the legs, mock executions and threats of execution.”