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Jubilation on Twitter as Osinbajo orders overhaul of SARS
IF Twitter were a real-life community, shouts of celebration and jubilation will be ringing out in its streets following the reports that Acting President Yemi Osinbajo has ordered a total overhaul of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) of the Nigeria Police Force.
In a statement on Tuesday, media aide to Osinbajo said the Acting President gave the directive “following persistent complaints and reports on the activities of SARS”.
“His Excellency, Professor Yemi Osinbajo SAN, Acting-President, Federal Republic of Nigeria, has directed the Inspector General of Police to, with immediate effect, overhaul the management and activities of SARS and ensure that any unit that will emerge from the process, will be intelligence-driven and restricted to the prevention and detection of armed robbery and kidnapping, and apprehension of offenders linked to the stated offences, and nothing more,” Akande stated.
“The Acting President has also directed the IGP to ensure that all operatives in the emerging unit conduct their operations in strict adherence to the rule of law and with due regard to International Humanitarian Law and the constitutionally guaranteed rights of suspects. The operatives should also bear proper identification anytime they are on duty.”
Akande further stated that Osinbajo also directed the National Human Rights Commission to set up a probe panel “that will conduct a nation-wide investigation of the alleged unlawful activities of SARS in order to afford members of the general public the opportunity to present their grievances with a view to ensuring redress”.
There has been a campaign on the social media, Twitter particularly, codenamed #EndSARS, calling for the scrapping of that department of the police force. Hundreds of Nigerians, using the #EndSARS hashtag have shared countless encounters at the hands of SARS operatives, most time involving gross violation of their rights.
The originator of the #EndSARS campaign, Segun Awosanya, took to his Twitter handle to celebrate the Acting President’s directive, describing it as a victory for the ordinary citizens.
“We WON Guys! Time to build anew. The new Nigeria is real. Congrats to the Nigerian police as we begin to reform. Out with the Old and welcome the New. Osinbajo delivers,” Awosanya, a legal practitioner, tweeted.
“The Devil is in the details. The implementation of the order is key. We will remain vigilant as we press on to ensure effective monitoring,” he added.
We WON Guys! #EndSARS #ReformPoliceNG @julietkego @Tutsy22 @DrJoeAbah Time to build a new. The #NewNigeria is real. Congrats to @PoliceNG as we begin to reform. Out with the Old and welcome the New. 👏🏼👏🏼 #OsinbajoDelivers pic.twitter.com/jHlyjbirsn
— SEGA L’éveilleur®🚨 (@segalink) August 14, 2018
Awosanya’s tweet was followed by hundreds of tweets celebrating the development and pouring accolades on the convener of the campaign.
I was about going out for lunch . I can’t anymore. I’m filled with joy . This one sweet me abeg #ENDSARS #REFORMPoLice #SeeFiNiSH . We will still release the video . If for no other reason , history must be documented on this #ENDSARS
Victory 🔊🔊🔥🔥 pic.twitter.com/vhKGo7v8PF
— Oshomah #SeeFiNiSH OUTNOW ! (@JohnNetworQ) August 14, 2018
What an amazing way the #EndSARS campaign followed to reach this point.
Special thanks to @segalink for showing to all of us that it’s not until you are in an elective position you can cause a change to happen.
Thanks to @ProfOsinbajo for being a listening Acting President.
— Tosin Olugbenga (@TosinOlugbenga) August 14, 2018
Without burning tyres, without causing mayhem & chaos, without blocking roads & looting shops, #EndSARS campaing achieved its aim!
Many thanks to the convener, the legal team & all the comrades who marched alongside Distinguished @segalink to fight the monster!
— Opeyemi Babalola (@CACCOT1) August 14, 2018
The citizens, rose together, stood together, spoke with one voice and achieved a great feat together!
It shows if we don’t allow the selfish politicians to divide us, we can be great.
Let’s all reason and work together to achieve a Nigeria that we can all be proud of.
— Ọmọ Ọba Ijannisburg (@Ayujala1) August 14, 2018
However, while celebrating the imminent overhauling of SARS, Twitter users also called for the sack of Abayomi Sogunle, Director of Police Public Complaint Rapid Response Unit, who made life more difficult for victims of SARS, by taunting them on social media and making jest of them.
In one of his tweets, Shogunle said SARS can only be scrapped if his post was retweeted 186 million times, a post which Nigerians interpreted as making mockery of the #EndSARS campaign.
186 million Retweets to #EndSARS.
Oya let’s go!
— Abayomi Shogunle (@YomiShogunle) July 26, 2018
Many says the #EndSARS campaign will not have succeeded if Shogunle remain in office.
He will get his memo shortly. The empire he lives to protect has crumbled. We have no use for him now. He is part of the old that must be buried and forgotten.
— SEGA L’éveilleur®🚨 (@segalink) August 14, 2018
The biggest party will happen when @YomiShogunle is finally fired! Kai I can’t wait oo
— Imo Connect (@imo_connect) August 14, 2018
I swear, there won’t be any reforms in the @PoliceNG without Yomi being sacked. He is not fit to occupy that position. That guy is a disgrace to all good police officers.
— Adewale Ajose (@walata44) August 14, 2018
AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL HAILS DIRECTIVE
Amnesty International, a global human rights group, hailed the directive to overhaul SARS but added that the reform “must translate into ending the torture, unlawful detention, extortion, extrajudicial killings and other serious human rights violations that SARS officers have been committing for years across Nigeria”.
“There is much compelling public evidence of human rights violations committed by SARS, some of it directly documented by Amnesty International, and this should now be used to aid an effective investigation into the unit’s crimes.