The lawmaker representing Enugu North Senatorial District, Senator Chuka Utazi, on Tuesday demanded a full scale investigation on the circumstances that led to the death of 28 -year old Miss Ifeoma Abugu in the custody of Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), Federal Capital Territory Police Command, Abuja.
Miss Abugu, a young graduate, was reportedly whisked away from her fiancée’s apartment at Wumba village, Lokogoma, Abuja where she was allegedly detained, raped, tortured and killed by SARS operatives, FCT Police Command, Abuja.
While moving a motion of Urgent Public Importance at the National Assembly,. Senator Utazi explained that the alleged arrest of the victim in place of her fiancee, Mr Afam Agwunwa, by SARS operatives contravened section 7 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act.
He explained that since the tragic death of the victim, the FCT Police Command has, to the disappointment of relatives and concerned family members of the deceased, engaged in a blame game in a desperate bid to either exonerate the SARS operatives involved in the crime or callously blame the incident on alleged drug overdose by the deceased.
The Senator noted that the deceased had through dint of hard work and sheer determination graduated from the Institute of Management and Technology (IMT) and concluded her National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) as well as her marriage introduction with her fiancé before the unfortunate imcident.
Her dream of a blissful married life was abruptly shattered by her tragic death in the hands of the operatives.
Senator Utazi observes with sadness that the tragic end of the victim has once again brought to national limelight reported cases of misconduct ranging from harassment, extortion, assault, rape and extra-judicial killings attributed to men and officers of the Special Anti -Robbery Squad (SARS) in the recent past.
He recalls that sometime in 2018, the Federal Government in response to public outcry and media reports on the unlawful activities of SARS set up a Presidential Panel on the Reform of SARS and the report of the Panel formed the basis for the Presidential directives on the overhaul of the activities of SARS to ensure that the special squad is intelligence-driven, human rights sensitive and restricted to the prevention and detection of heinous crimes such as armed robbery and kidnapping, and apprehension of offenders linked to the stated offences.
He expressed dismay that in spite of geniune efforts to reform SARS, the squad has remained a notorious abuser of human rights of suspects, and dreaded for its brutality in operations, contrary to its scope of activities and the Presidential directives. He maintained that SARS operatives have often veered away from its core mandate to participate in debt recovery, recovery of premises and other civil matters outside its core mandate.
Senator Utazi stressed the need for the Senate to commission thorough investigation on the circumstances that led to the death of the victim, noting that such a step would ensure that the family of the deceased gets the deserved justice. According to him, such bold action would clearly establish the status of SARS reforms in the light of recent public outcry over atrocities perpetrated by SARS operatives.
Utazi prayed the Senate to condemn the extra -judicial killing of Miss Abugu and condole with the family of the deceased, the people of Enugu North Senatorial District and the good people of Enugu State in general.
He also urged the Senate leadership to mandate the Committees on Police Affairs and Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters to investigate the matter and report back their findings and recommendations within two weeks.
He also called for the Senate to mandate the Committees on Police Affairs and Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters to investigate the status of the Presidential Directive on the Re-organization of the Special Anti-robbery Squad in the light of recent public outcry over atrocities perpetrated by the SARS and to report back their findings and recommendations within two weeks.
The lawmaker further moved for the Senate to observe one minute silence in honour of the victim.