By Osaigbovo Iguobaro, Benin
The peaceful protest by youths over alleged brutality by the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) of the Nigeria Police Force on Tuesday, spread to the palace of Oba of Benin in Benin City, Edo State Capital.
But for the presence of security operatives, the sacred palace gate would have transformed into a fortress when the youths who sought the intervention of the royal father towards halting rising cases of human rights abuse.
In a rare display of affection, the Oba of Benin, Oba Ewuare II sent emissaries to the protesters who urged the youths to sheath their sword.
Chief D.A. Ehondor, the Obahiagbon of Benin who received the protesters, promised to forward their requests to Oba of Benin.
The youths who brandished placards bearing inscriptions such as “Stop searching our phones. My phone is my private property”. “No to illegal arrest”. Who is the next victim of SARS brutality?”, sang praises of the highly revered monarch, knelt down in appreciation and fatherly love to them.
Addressing journalists earlier at the main entrance of the palace on Tuesday, Mr. Osagie Ohenhen, demanded for an end into police brutality.
He said that they were at the palace to appeal to the traditional ruler to lend his voice to reform in the nation’s security architecture.
“We do not have peace and there is no freedom in this Country anymore. We do not also have work. We are living our lives independently.
We are not getting anything from the government, so why are we afraid?. We have no fundamental human rights anymore. We need them to give us our rights” he stressed.
Also speaking, Mr. Akpomiebe Daniel who claimed to be a graduate of the University of Benin, alleged that they have given up on Nigeria as Citizens in view of the intolerable level of unemployment in Nigeria.
On Tuesday, Inspector-General of police (IGP), Mohammed Adamu, banning men of the Special Anti Robbery Squad (SARS) across the Country from searching people’s mobile phones, laptops and other electronic devices.
Adamu in the statement that was personally signed by the IGP, Mr. Mohammed Adamu, restrain policemen in mufti from engaging in stop and search duties, mounting of checkpoints or roadblocks on highways.
According to the statement, “Any police personnel that, henceforth abuses his or her powers in a manner that degrades, endangers or threatens the life and other fundamental rights of the Citizens shall be promptly arrested, processed through our internal disciplinary machinery and if found culpable, shall be dismissed from service. In addition, such personnel could be charged to court in consonance with their level of criminal liability in the instance.
“All the operatives of the Federal Anti-Robbery Squad (FSARS), State Special Anti-Robbery Squads (SARS}, Intelligence Response Team (IRT), Special Tactical Squad (STS}, Anti-Kidnapping Squads (AKS) and any other Unit of the Force that operates in mufti under any special nomenclature are banned from routine patrols on the highways and Streets.”