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Sanwo-Olu speaks on ‘unlawful exploitation’ by SARS

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[FILES] Lagos State Governor, Sanwo-Olu. Photo:TWITTER/JIDESANWOOLU

Lagos State governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu-Olu Sunday said the state will “speedily” take “appropriate actions” to address increasing police brutality in the state.

A viral video on social media on Saturday showed members of the notorious Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) of the Nigerian police forcing a young man into a car.

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The car drove off after the man was forced to sit at the back of the car by the policemen who wore mufti.

A Twitter user,  @yourmydad, who claimed to be the victim of the harassment, said the incident happened on 25th September when he and his friend were going to Yaba to pick up some items.

“When our Uber got stopped by men without uniforms who claimed to be sars officer, I refused to open the doors because they had no ID,” he said in a Twitter thread on Saturday.

He said the unidentified police officers demanded N1 million bribe from him and his friend and threatened to kill him if he raised alarm.

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He said N100, 000 ws extorted from him before they were allowed to go.

[The] seemingly unlawful exploitation by the people charged to protect is very worrying & needs to be addressed immediately,” Sanwo-Olu-Olu said.

Police brutality is rife in Nigeria, with the country’s young population usually the target of extortion, torture and, sometimes, murder.

Amnesty International in two reports published in 2016 and 2020 said SARS used torture to extract information from suspects.

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People arrested by SARS “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,” Amnesty International said in the 2016 report.

It said in the report published in June that “many SARS stations use designated ‘torture chambers’ – special interrogation rooms commonly used for torturing suspects.”

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