EndSARS: Nnamdi Kanu vindicated as UK confesses to funding ‘notorious’ SARS unit. The United Kingdom Minister for Africa, James Dudridge, acknowledged that between 2016 and 2020, British officials had trained, and equipped officers from the defunct SARS (Special Anti-Robbery Squad), having initially denied any connection.
The minister confirmed in a letter forwarded to Labour Party member of parliament (MP), Kate Osamor on Thursday, that SARS officers had attended training courses “designed to improve human rights, training on public finance, and community policing workshops”. He also stated that the Nigerian police received a radio equipment which was later used by SARS.
Obinwannem News gathered that it was Ms Osamor that urged the British government to disclose its links to SARS. She cited that “amid the global protests against SARS, our government doesn’t seem to know whether they are funding these units or not”.
The MP said the minister had told her, earlier on, that no funds had ever reached the SARS unit. “The government has now been forced to admit that it not only spent millions training SARS but also directly supplied them with equipment.”
Reacting, Ms Osamor added that, “The government now needs to explain how and why it ever felt it was appropriate to train and equip security forces which were known to have taken part in torture and extra-judicial killings.”
The leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB,
Nnamdi Kanu, had alleged that UK was instrumental in the willful “mayhem” and cruelty the special police unit has been known for. But, the UK Embassy denied it.
“Does it mean United Kingdom knowingly funded the notorious #SARS unit in Nigeria? Troubling!” Kanu asked on
According to a letter sent to the Labour Party on October 19, Mr Duddridge had claimed that the Office of Foreign affairs “does not provide, and has not provided any support or training to SARS units or officers”.
Howbeit, the Minister [Duddridge] acknowledged, just recently, that until March 2020, government of United Kingdom administered trainings to SARS unit through the Ministry of Foreign Affair’s Conflict, Stability and Security Fund (CSSF).
“The training was in support of our wider objectives to strengthen the capability, accountability and responsiveness of the Nigerian Police Force,” Duddridge said.
The movement towards an end to police brutality, under the banner of #EndSARS, sparked up across Nigeria in early October. Activists have called for the police unit to be disbanded, following several testament of torture and extrajudicial execution of its citizens.
The department was “dissolved” on October 11, but protests have continued as Nigerians demand the implementation of a larger reform across the security agency.
Nigeria faces global condemnation after its security forces opened fire on hundreds of peaceful protesters in Lagos last week, killing at least 12 people, according to Amnesty International.
Nwada Ozoemela Chikwas reporting, Obinwannem News