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Awkuzu SARS: Probe Organ Harvesting Allegations, Make Findings Public - CSO Urges IGP

Posted by Samuel on Sat 25th Mar, 2023 -

The Executive Director, RULAAC, Mr Okechukwu Nwanguma, made the call at a meeting of Anambra Police Stakeholders Partnership Forum in Awka on Friday.

 Anambra State

The Rule of Law and Accountability Advocacy Centre has sent a message to the Inspector General of Police, Baba Akali.

The group called on the IGP to ensure a thorough investigation of the allegations of organ harvesting and rights violations against two police formations in Anambra State.

The Executive Director, RULAAC, Mr Okechukwu Nwanguma, made the call at a meeting of Anambra Police Stakeholders Partnership Forum in Awka on Friday.

The meeting was aimed at interfacing between the group and family members and relatives of victims who had suffered alleged abuse by the police in the state.

Some police officers at the Rapid Response Squad, Annexe, formerly Awkuzu SARS, and Zone 13 Headquarters, Ukpo, had been fingered to be involved in illegal detention, kidnappings, extrajudicial killings and human organ harvesting by a whistleblower.

Following the allegations, the IGP subsequently set up a panel to investigate the matter.

The state governor, Prof. Chukwuma Soludo, on his part, asked the state Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice to review all case files handled by the accused police formations, RRS and Zone 13.

But months after the investigation panel team was announced by the Force PRO, Muyiwa Adejobi, nothing has yet to be heard from the panel, a situation which has become a cause for worry for civil society groups.

Speaking at the forum, Nwanguma expressed worry that more than one month after the allegations of unprofessional conducts were made against the two formations, nothing had been heard about the investigation, validity or otherwise, from the police authorities.

He said the group would like to meet with the IGP investigation team to monitor progress and ensure that the cases of human rights abuse on the citizens were not swept under the carpet.

He said probing the matter and making the findings public would go a long way to assure the public that police were their friend and that positive lessons had been learnt from the #EndSARS experience.

He said, “It is unfortunate that the things that gave rise to #EndSARS are still happening today. We still have cases of unlawful arrests, illegal detention, extortion and disappearance of people.

“Here in Anambra, there was a story of organ harvesting by the RRS and serious human rights abuse by Zone 13 Headquarters, Ukpo. Sadly, nothing has been heard, and we understand that some of the accused are all back to their duty posts.

“I want to appreciate the IGP for setting up an investigative panel on the matter, but we are worried by the silence of that committee, we want to meet with them and work with them.”

Nwanguma said respect for human rights is an irreducible minimum for policing a people in a civilised society.

The family members and relatives of victims of the alleged abuse, who were present at the meeting, urged the civil society to help unravel the disappearance of their relations.

The witnesses, who gave separate accounts about how their children were whisked away from their homes, said they had not returned after about a year.

On his part, the coordinator of PSPF in Anambra State, Mr Chris Azor, said the forum was formed to engender greater synergy between the community and the police.

Azor said the civil society would continue to elicit quality feedback from the community to help the police perform better while assuring that human rights cases would not be allowed to go uninvestigated and punished.

He commended RULAAC for organising the interface while noting that the issues raised would be escalated to the police for necessary actions and remedies.

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