Okechukwu Nwanguma an Executive Director, Rule of Law and Accountability Advocacy Centre has revealed how Awkuzu SARS in Anambra State sold body parts of executed victims, PUNCH NEWS reports.
Mr Okechukwu who has an organisation that promotes justice for victims of human rights violation disclosed during an interview that Awkuzu SARS harvested and sold the body parts of some people they executed.
The Nigerian born who has handled several cases of a human rights violation by the Nigeria Police.
told ALEXANDER OKERE how the disbanded Special Anti-Robbery Squad of the security agency became deadly ‘criminal entity’ in Awkuzu.
There have been concerns raised about Awkuzu SARS in Anambra State. Can you share your experience with the centre?
Awkuzu SARS was the most notorious of all the SARS bases across the country. It was notable for the cruelty and mindlessness of its operatives in the abuse of arrest and detention procedures, and in the use of torture and extrajudicial killings as a means of ‘investigation’. They were notable for framing and parading people for crimes they had no evidence that they committed. They extorted huge sums of money from their victims and family members of their victims. They also killed for politicians and were available for hire to settle scores. The majority of the victims who were lucky to come out alive or their relatives alleged that Awkuzu SARS harvested and sold the body parts of some people they executed. This needs to be properly investigated to ascertain its veracity or otherwise. One notorious man ran a human ‘abattoir’ at Awkuzu SARS where lives were willfully terminated. He denied detainees access to anybody and disregarded court orders. His activities, including his connection with politicians and notable businessmen in Anambra State, should be investigated.
Justice for the victims of extrajudicial killings by the police has been a difficult task for affected families. Who should be blamed for this; the police or the Nigerian judicial system?
Amnesty International, in one of its old reports, described the Nigerian criminal justice system as a conveyor belt of injustice. This is true. From poor police investigation due lack of funds, proper training and facilities, to inefficiency and delay by the prosecutors, to congestion, delay and, sometimes, corruption in the judiciary leading to delay of and, sometimes, denial of justice, to congestion of correctional centres, the entire criminal justice system is a curse on the citizens, especially the poor. In few cases where the courts have determined cases of extrajudicial killing and ordered the police to pay compensations to victims, the police disobey most of such orders and the courts are often helpless. The attorneys general are also complicit in many cases by failure to effectively ensure that court orders are obeyed by executive agencies or that justice is dispensed fairly and speedily in their jurisdictions.
For how long has the defunct Awkuzu SARS had its reputation as an abattoir?
It was as far back as 2005 or 2006, when I went to Anambra State to do research on the patterns and prevalence of police abuse in my advocacy for police reforms that I came about specific cases. It has maintained that notoriety (Awkuzu SARS) and that particular commander spent several years in that same unit. What you would find is that in most places, officers like that are usually kept for so long because they work not just for law enforcement but also for people in government and businessmen. There is one area we need to further investigate: Every single person I have interviewed who passed through Awkuzu SARS spoke about the sale of human parts. I know that this is something difficult to prove, even though they all say it. And they described a particular man called Doctor, who always came in a white robe any time somebody was shot at the back of the torture chamber. What he came to do, they did not know. So, that gave them the impression that the man was coming to harvest human parts but that needs to be investigated.