UPDATE: Reasons Why Journalist, Elombah Arrested By Nigerian Government

Here are reasons why the publisher of Elombah.com and United Kingdom based lawyer, Mr. Daniel Elombah was arrested by officers attached to the notorious Special Anti Robbery Squad, SARS, of the Nigerian police.

Daniel, who is also the General Secretary of the Online Publishers Association, OPAN, was arrested alongside his brothers from their family house in Edoji-Uruagu Nnewi, Anambra State in the wee hours of the New Year’s Day of 2018.

The officers who stormed the compound in a commando-styled operation refused to give reasons why the journalist was being arrested as his wife, two kids and aged mother watched in horror. They just said they were acting based on “orders from above” as they shackled him and others in cuffs before taking them away in one of the vans they came in.

According to information, the duo were moved to Abuja office of the F-SARS in Akuku.

Reports say Dan Elombah was arrested for reason unrelated to him. Surprisingly, he was mistakenly arrested.

Sources close to him confided in OsunDefender that discussions are on for his release.

The source said “Some people are also on ground. Hopefully, Press conference will be held tomorrow by his team of Lawyers.”

Anambra Youths Protest Move To Scrap SARS

Following the call by some groups to scrap the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), more than 2,000 youths on Monday took to the major roads in Awka, Anambra State capital, in a peaceful protest.

The group, under the aegis of Concerned Anambra Citizens and Non-Indigenes, drawn from various parts of the state, converged at the entrance gate of the SARS office in Awkuzu, Oyi Local Government Area of the state.

The protesters displayed placards with various inscriptions which read, “Removal of SARS, an invitation to kidnapping, robbery”, “We want crime-free Christmas and New Year”, “Let SARS be”, etc.

Addressing newsmen, the convener, and the Special Assistant to the state Governor on Political Matters, Okafor Emeka, said the protest was embarked on to drive home their demands on the consequences of scrapping the security unit.

While stating that any attempt to scrap SARS would amount to return of all forms of crimes and criminality in the state, he attributed the relative peace existing in the state to the active and aggressive operations of that arm of the police force.

On his part, the Police Community Relations Committee, Chief Francis Ezenwankwo said those calling for the scraping of the unit had selfish and ulterior motives, and called on them to have a rethink.

He however acknowledged that the officials of the unit might have their shortcomings, but insisted that rather than scrap the unit, they should be reformed and repositioned for better service delivery.

His words: “We have a system where erring officers are disciplined, including redeployment, training and retraining to bring out the best from them.”

The Governor’s aide, who later handed over the letter written to the Inspector General of Police by the group to the state Commissioner of Police, Garba Umar, pleaded with the IGP to use his good offices to ensure that SARS remained in the state.

According to him, refusal to heed their call would compel the group to carry the protest to the police headquarters in Abuja.

In his response, the Deputy Commissioner of Police, Chris Owolabi, who represented by the Commissioner of Police, commended the group for their peaceful conduct, promising that their message would be delivered appropriately

Outcry As SARS Officers Extort Residents

By Shina Abubakar

Residents of major towns in the State of Osun have lamented the high rate of harassment and ridicule they are subjected to in recent times by men of the Special Anti-Robbery Squads of the Nigeria Police Force, popularly referred to as SARS.

Many of those who spoke with Osun Defender medium disclosed that the special unit has turned into a virus, feeding on the innocence of the citizenry it is supposed to be protecting, while crime activities are perpetrated sometimes in broad light unchecked.

Mr Kehinde Oni who spoke with the medium in Ilesa disclosed that SARS as a unit of the Police Force is no longer in tune with reality because it has actually turned into another crime syndicate that harass and intimidate members of the public for personal gains.

He stated that the unit has now specialised in using spies in banks to alert them when young men has transactions, with a view to extorting such persons, sometimes,  on the excuse that they are too young to be in possession of such money.

Sometimes, Oni added, the spies are banks security personnel or, even cash transaction officials in the banks, who later get their share from the proceeds made by the gun-wielding police officers.

According to Qodri Alani, a resident in Ogo-Oluwa area of the state capital, the attitude of SARS officers is becoming irritating, particularly with regards to bully and intimidation of young people who go about for their lawful businesses.

He narrated how officers of the unit extorted money from him even after he had identified his place of work.

“I was coming out of a bank along Ogo-Oluwa when a mini-bus popularly referred to as ‘korope’ parked beside me and a gun-wielding guy wearing a black T-shirt with SARS inscription on it approached me asking me of my means of livelihood.

After telling them of my means of livelihood, one of them insisted I must enter the bus with them and before I could protest, I was pushed in and the driver moved towards Ola-Iya and on getting to Fakunle area the vehicle was parked and I was asked to transfer fund into another guy’s, (who I met in the bus), account number before I was allowed to leave”.

He disclosed that many other young men have been in police cell for refusing to part with their money or sometimes their mobile phones or laptops.

An NYSC member in Ile-Ife disclosed that when he was arrested and presented his NYSC identity, the officers told him the identity was just temporary and he must part with his money before he could be released.

Similarly, a youth corp member in the state who pleaded anonymity call for the dissolution of the unit due to their recklessness and blatant disregard for the rules of law, especially with regards to cyber crime law in the country.

He said most of the police men in the unit are involved in crime activities while adorning uniform as law enforcement agents.

Speaking on the development, a Lawyer in Osogbo, Barrister Bukola Onifade disclosed  that what the men of SARS are doing is contrary to the position of the constitution because it guarantees the right of individual to own property, account and transact business legally without being harassed by anyone.

He said the SARS officers just drive around town in commercial vehicles and burgle people into the vehicle indiscriminately, drive them into a corner and intimidate them into paying ‘ransom’ to secure their r elease before getting back to the station.

Onifade added that in the case that their victims are taken to the station, such victims are neither arraigned in court nor their cases investigated to ascertain their innocence rather, they are kept in police detention perpetually until their families can meet the police demands.

“Many Nigerians now want to join the police force, not to service, but because they presume it is easy to extort money from people being an officer of the law”, he added.

The learned fellow however called on Nigerians not to allow ignorance lead them to suffer injustice, stressing the need for them to always call on their lawyers as soon as they are burgled by SARS officers unnecessarily.

 

#JusticeForKudi: Kudirat Adebayo Set To Be Buried

Kudirat Adebayo, a 50-year old petty trader at the Onipanu toll gate area of Lagos state, who was allegedly shot by a police officer attached to the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) has been buried.

She was buried on Tuesday after an autopsy was conducted on her corpse on Monday.

Kudirat was shot by one officer named Charles aka TBoy when he was chasing some conmen (Yahoo boys). Two other persons were hit during the shooting.

The family is still demanding justice as TBoy has not yet been arrested.

Police say it has arrested the alleged killer’s colleagues and has launched a manhunt for him. Twitter user @chydee, who has brought the tragic incident to the fore, also said that the police is yet release the full name of the officer.

Condolences to the family and we pray for strength for them at this time. #JusticeforKudi