#EndSARS: Nigeria Police threaten leader of campaign against notorious anti-robbery squad

Segun Awosanya, one of the major voices demanding the scrapping of the notorious anti-robbery squad, SARS.
Segun Awosanya, one of the major voices demanding the scrapping of the notorious anti-robbery squad, SARS.

The police are investigating Segun Awosanya, one of the major voices demanding the scrapping of the notorious anti-robbery squad, SARS, known for human rights abuses and brutality against citizens, a spokesperson has said.

Mr. Awosanya, a lead campaigner in the citizen-led #EndSARS initiative, was accused of hobnobbing with politicians in some of his pictures that police have seen online.

“When you see someone like that who regularly mingles with politicians now leading a campaign to scrap a critical department in the police, then you know his activities are not genuine,” said police spokesperson, Jimoh Moshood, in a telephone exchange with PREMIUM TIMES Tuesday morning.

Mr. Moshood emailed a picture which Mr. Awosanya took with Speaker Yakubu Dogara and another one he took at a business forum as indicative of his political ties.

But he said the police was not accusing the Speaker of sponsoring Mr. Awosanya and other #EndSARS campaigners.

Mr. Awosanya told PREMIUM TIMES he took the picture with Mr. Dogara when his team submitted a petition for the scrapping of SARS to the Speaker in September.

The disclosure comes as #EndSARS campaign dominates discussion on social media for the fourth day.

Mr. Moshood said the police respect the rights of Nigerians to express themselves online or offline, but that would not stop officers from investigating mischievous elements who cloak their agenda with popular causes.

“Our investigation does not mean we’re trying to infringe on peoples’ rights, but the quarters where some of the claims are coming from and those leading them should be looked into,” Mr. Moshood said.

Allegations of extra-judicial killings, torture, wanton arrests for bribes and other menacing conducts flooded social media since Saturday, with citizens taking their rage to the Internet and demanding action.

As one of the coordinators of #EndSARS, a hashtag many Nigerians have adopted to amplify the issue, Mr. Awosanya PREMIUM TIMES the aim is to compel the National Assembly and President Muhammadu Buhari to scrap SARS.

He led a team to deliver a petition to Mr. Dogara and Senate President Bukola Saraki in September and received assurances that something would be done. An online petition for the abolition of SARS has garnered more that 25,000 signatures as at Tuesday.

Police Inspector-General, Ibrahim Idris, responded to the campaign on Tuesday with a directive that SARS should be reorganised for efficiency and accountability. But he rejected calls to scrap the embattled squad.

Amongst the new measures to be adopted is the stripping of state commissioners of the power to control SARS at state level. A new commissioner to be based at Force Headquarters, Abuja, will now control SARS throughout the country.

But Mr. Awosanya and other campainers said the intervention was insufficient, although they appreciated the efforts of Mr. Idris. They insisted that nothing short of absolute shutdown of the department would be acceptable.

Mr. Moshood said Nigerians should ignore Mr. Awosanya and others who have allegedly politicised the #EndSARS campaign.

“Nigerians should reject any dubious attempt to paint the institution of police in a bad light,” the spokesperson said.

Mr. Awosanya, however, said he would not be intimidated.

“Our campaign is for SARS to be scrapped so that the killing, maiming, beating and robbing of the citizens can stop,” Mr. Awosanya told PREMIUM TIMES by telephone Tuesday morning. “We will remain resolute in that call no matter the antics deployed by the police.”

Mr. Awosanya said he was not ashamed to pose for pictures with politicians and wondered how that should be an issue at a time of nationwide outrage over the conduct of SARS personnel.

“They’re bringing up issues of pictures which I didn’t take yesterday to divert attention from issues being raised by over 100,000 Nigerians,” Mr. Awosanya said. “The excruciating facts are out there that demonstrate how vicious and uncivilised the conduct of SARS has been over the years.”

“Nigerians have a right to decide if they want to continue to tolerate the criminalities of SARS officers into the future,” he added.

The activist said a nationwide protest to further demand an immediate ban of SARS would go on next week as planned.


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  • Netanyahu

    If you want miscreant buharists to comment on any article, just mention IPOB or Atiku in PDP and they will come swarming all over the place like maggots. For now they have no comments.

  • Arabakpura

    I want Nigerians to pay close attention to this Jimoh Moshood! He is not going to make a good commissioner of Police! We need to watch him and give him close marking! His responses to issues are always very terrible!

    • Manuel Tobby

      He is the most horrible police PRO I have ever seen, so ignorant and arrogant always spewing hallunicinations .

  • john peters

    buhari and apc is a disgrace to nigeria and its people,declare the terrorist because the say the truth like IPOB

  • Alex

    Imagine the response of a PR officer to such a serious issues concerning the police which he served under?anyone that has eyes and ears knows the so call police is just a deadly outfits that terrorised the innocents in Nigeria?instead of covering his face in shame,he is out fighting.The attentions should be shifted to the sacking of that armed robber in uniform called Jimoh Moshood.

  • FreeNigeria

    can you imagine the response from this stinking outfit of retards called “NPF”. Nigeria is truly in trouble. no wonder the country is free falling.

  • Tare Daniel

    This is the worst possible response to citizens agitation for change I have ever seen in a democracy. Even if the man is sponsored by politicians, it is within the right of those politicians as citizens to invest in social causes that suit their interests as long as such causes are achieved within the law. Politicians are entitled to hold views like the rest of us… #EndSARS

  • kenmege

    Did SARS kill, Rob,detain and extort innocent nigerians? Those are the questions the bone headed police media person should be addressing. They were recently ranked the worst in the world and they rejected it. Now, it’s clear for all to see.

  • tundemash

    Mr. Awosanya, a lead campaigner in the citizen-led #EndSARS initiative, was accused of hobnobbing with politicians in some of his pictures that police have seen online.

    So what offence is that Mr. SARS policeman ?

  • Abdul

    Very terrible response, how this guy was appointed a police PRO beat my imagination. Shameful response, very disgraceful.

  • Jackson Obe

    Please we should not forget those of them that dress to beat cultists and criminal who waylay travelling motorists along the Benin Bye-pass and the ones at Upper Iweka/Owerri Road in Onitsha whose duty is to sort out travelers from whom the extort several thousands of Naira at gun point

  • Ola

    This is a very misleading headline and write up. I watched the whole episode on Channels this morning with PRO Moshood. I can testify that he never threatened Segun Awosanya or named any politician.

    He just alluded to the fact that the public should be wary of the
    source of information especially an online generated movement where the
    originator is someone of questionable intention.

    When armed robbers kill ,steal and cause havoc on citizens in their homes or kidnapped ,it is these same Nigerians that will start asking where is the police?

    These men face danger everyday to try and safeguard ours and they should be commended and not called all manner of names.

    There is no Police department around the world even in developed countries that does not have issues with units where tactics of engagement may have gone astray. They will investigate and address the situation in order to deliver better service to the public. You can’t just decide to scrap SARS because of some wayward officers .

    Let us remember this is an Anti Robbery Squad and not a marriage counseling squad.

  • Kristo John

    How did moshood become police PRO for Godsake? That guy has never defended the police intelligently,same rubbish he displayed during our mumu don do protest.

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  • Message66

    I have never seen a more useless, mischievous, idiotic and dull police force anywhere in the world like the NPF.
    What a calamity to befall law abiding citizens of Nigeria. Ndi nzuzu.