Nigeria police chief orders withdrawal of lawsuit against SARS probe


The Nigeria police have withdrawn the suit it filed to stop various panels probing allegations of rights abuses and other acts of impunity by the disbanded Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS).

Inspector-General of Police Mohammed Adamu has ordered on Friday the immediate withdrawal of the lawsuit challenging the legality of the panels of enquiry set up by various Nigerian states.

A statement by police spokesperson Frank Mbah says the order follows the outcome of investigations into the role played by the Force Legal Section in launching the lawsuit although he did not elaborate what prompted them to drop the litigation.

According to the statement, the police force remains committed to the course of justice at all times and will not allow anybody to constitute a “brick wall” to the on-going police reforms.

He said the police remained committed to fulfilling all its obligations with regards to the disbandment of the defunct SARS, the ongoing proceedings of the judicial panels, and all other police reforms.

Mr. Adamu had ordered an investigation after news of the lawsuit trended on social media on Thursday.

The police were said to be challenging the panels because state governments do not have the legal power to carry out such investigations into police conduct.

Panels of inquiry have been set up in a number of states across Nigeria following nationwide protests against police brutality in October.

The protests called for the disbandment of the elite police unit known as SARS. Despite the unit being dissolved, protests continued for days as demonstrators asked for broader police reforms and better governance.

Rights groups have long accused the Nigerian police of extortion, illegal detention and even extra-judicial killings. (Source: BBC)