The United Kingdom parliament is questioning its government support and funding for security in Nigeria over cases of torture, ill-treatment, and extrajudicial killings by the disbanded Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS).
Kate Osamor, Member of Parliament for Edmonton has written in question and seek clarification on the nature of aid the government of the UK through the office of the Secretary of State, Foreign Affairs extended to Nigeria’s disbanded Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS).
The letter written on October 15 and personally signed by Osamor called the attention of the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, Mr. Dominic Raab to the nationwide protests in Nigeria in the past seven days against the excesses of SARS.
She warned that further assistance be withheld and also called for an audit of what the previous aids were used for so that the UK government agency would not be unintentionally supporting or facilitating the actions of an agency notorious for human rights violations.
Osamor’s letter stated that “there have been 82 proven and documented incidents of torture, ill-treatment, extrajudicial executions and gross human rights abuses against SARS since January 2017” and cautioned it would be “unthinkable that UK agency gives support to such body unless for training on proper conduct that respects human rights”.
The letter reads: “I am writing as a member of the International Development and Select Committee and Chair of the Nigeria APPG to ask for some clarification regarding the Conflict Stability and Security Fund project in Nigeria, which is aimed at ‘increasing the capacity of Nigeria kidnap units to deliver anti-kidnap and kidnap response capacity.”
“I’m sure you will be aware of the recent protests against Nigeria’s Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), which has been involved in at least 82 cases of torture, ill-treatment, and extrajudicial executions since January 2017.
“Given these concerns and concerns generally with the nature of corruption and brutality in Nigeria law enforcement, it is obviously extremely important that no UK development spending finds its way into the pocket of groups within Nigeria who are guilty of such crimes.”
“For that reason, I am very concerned about the UK development funds which have been invested in the “Nigeria Countering Organized Crime and Corruption” project and the lack of transparency when it comes to this project. On the right about the lack of detail provided and the circumstances in Nigeria, there is a high risk that the NCA is providing support to two units implicated in the abuses I’ve mentioned above. I would therefore be grateful if you could confirm whether any funding or other kinds of support have directly or indirectly been given to the SARS unit.”