The UK initially denied having any ties with the Nigerian police
Despite the attempt to distance self from the much-hated and now-disbanded Special Anti Robbery Squad, it has come to light that the UK government had strong ties with that unit of the Nigerian police.
In fact, the UK Minister for Africa, James Duddridge on Thursday admitted that British officials trained the operatives between 2016 and 2020, according to reports.
Recall that the disbanded SARS were accused of acting with impunity, killing and torturing citizens.
These excesses gave birth to the #EndSARS protests which demanded an end to police brutality.
In a memo to Labour MP, Kate Osamor on Thursday, Duddridge said SARS officers participated in training “designed to improve human rights, training on public finance, and community policing workshops”.
The official verified that radio equipment was given to Nigeria Police for the notorious division.
“It is shocking that in the middle of global protests to End SARS, our government appears to have had no idea whether or not it was funding those very units”, Osamor told The Independent.
The lawmaker recalled that Duddridge told her earlier this month that no funding ever made its way to SARS.
The minister in an October 19 letter stated that the Foreign Office “does not provide and has not provided any support or training to SARS units or officers”.
Duddridge said it was in support of UK’s wider objectives to strengthen the capability, accountability and responsiveness of the Nigeria Police.
Osamor noted that Britain has now been forced to admit that it not only spent millions training SARS but also supplied equipment.
“The government now needs to explain how and why it ever felt it was appropriate to train and equip security forces which were known to have taken part in torture and extra-judicial killings”, the MP added.