Youths protest alleged extrajudicial killings by SARS in Rivers
Chukwudi Akasike and Friday Amobi, Port Harcourt
The youths, who gathered under the aegis of the Niger Delta Non-Violence Youth Leaders Assembly converged on the popular Moscow Road in Port Harcourt, displaying placards with various inscriptions.
Some of the inscriptions on the placards read, ‘IGP, rise up to the occasion, Akin Fakorede must go’, ‘The activities of Akin Fakorede is creating bad image for the Nigeria Police’, SARS, Rivers people say no to extrajudicial killings’, ‘SARS has become something else in Rivers State’, among others.
Describing some of the activities of SARS in the state as unacceptable, the protesters explained that innocent persons had been sent to their early graves as a result of the “unprofessional” behaviour of the security outfit.
Speaking with newsmen shortly after their protest, the Coordinator of the group, Mr. Michael Omachi, maintained that the head of SARS in the state, Mr. Akin Fokorede, had shown that he was not capable of handling operatives under him.
“We want to state that the SARS Commander, Akin Fakorede is incapable of handling his men. We are being humiliated; our people are being killed. Our people have been raped and at the end of the day, they will come back and say it is our people that raped our people.
“Meanwhile, it is SARS people that are raping our people. The go with different kinds of drugs in their pockets and go to search people’s houses. At the end of the day, they plant the drugs in people’s houses.
“They will plant those exhibits and arrest those people. They will deal with those people and at the end of the day, you bail yourself N100,000 in our state. We will no longer allow it.
“For the sake of time, what we are saying today is that let the Federal Government, especially the President (Muhammadu) Buhari, to come to our aid; let the Inspector-General of Police come to our aid,” Omachi pleaded.
In the same vein, one of the youth leaders, Mr. Okocha Njobuanwu, expressed the need for the IGP to establish a committee to investigate the activities of SARS operatives in the state.
Njobuanwu pointed that though the youths were not against security agents in the state, it was necessary for SARS to protect citizens of the country and not perpetrate crime against them.
“We are here today to register our displeasure with the activities of SARS in Rivers State. We are not against the Nigeria Police; we are not against security agents.
“What we are saying is that we have series of complaints against SARS. His Excellency, Governor Ezebunwo Nyesom Wike has also made some allegations against SARS.
“What we expect is for the hierarchy of the Nigerian Police, the Inspector-General of Police and the Commissioner of Police in Rivers State to set up a unit to investigate these allegations.
“SARS is there to protect us, but today, we found out that SARS, instead of protecting us, is killing us,” the youth leader stressed.
When contacted to respond to the allegation of the protesters, the State Police Public Relations Officer, Mr. Nnamdi Omoni, said the Command would not be able to respond to the matter immediately.
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