OrderPaperToday – Almost two months down since the House of Representatives mandated its committees on Human Rights, Police Affairs and Justice to investigate allegations of extrajudicial killings, acts of harassment and torture against the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) in Rivers State and other parts of the country, no report has been turned in.
This is in spite of the nationwide uproar that has greeted the activities of the dreaded police unit in the last three weeks, with many calling for its disbandment and some asking for reforms.
All efforts by OrderPaperNg to reach the relevant committees proved abortive. Chairmen of Police Affairs Committee of the House, Mr. Dauda Jika (APC, Bauchi) who is the principal anchor of the assignment, neither responded to calls and text messages sent to his phone.
The same was the case with Mr. Eward Pwajok (APC, Plateau) who is the Reps Committee chairman on Human Rights while Mr. Rasaq Atunwa of the Justice Committee was said to be unavailable when OrderPaperNg attempted to reach him to comment on this story.
Recall that Mr. Kingsley Chinda representing Obio-Akpor federal constituency of Rivers State on the platform of the PDP, had led nine other lawmakers to bring a motion to the House of Representatives on 26 October, 2017 on the activities of SARS.
The motion had stridently accused SARS of extrajudicial killings, double standard and torture of innocent citizens in Rivers State, saying: “We have received complaints of extrajudicial killings, acts of torture and malevolent methods, including planting of illicit drugs and incriminating items on victims.”
The motion detailed several cases of rights abuses by the police squad and how the need for an urgent intervention by the police authorities could not be delayed any further. The House accordingly resolved to “condemn in very strong terms the acts of harassment, torture, extra-judicial killings and other unwholesome practices by operatives of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) in Rivers State and indeed, other parts of the country.”
Based on the motion, the House had mandated the three committees to jointly investigate the matter and revert to plenary in four weeks. But about two months after, no word has been heard on the matter.
Recall that the House of Representatives had on the 14 October, 2017 gave ultimatum to chairmen of ad-hoc and standing committees to submit reports on matters referred or be stripped of the functions given them.