The United Kingdom government has admitted training officers from the now disbanded Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) between 2016 and 2020.
This was disclosed by the country’s Minister for Africa, James Duddridge in a letter dated October 29, 2020.
The letter was addressed to Kate Osamor, a member of the UK parliament, who shared a copy via her Twitter handle.
Osamor had written to the minister to confirm reported links the UK government had with SARS following a nationwide protest against the police unit over alleged abuse of human rights.
Duddridge also confirmed radio equipment was given to Nigerian police which was then used by SARS.
He said the training programme ended in March 2020, adding that the UK remains committed to the respect for human rights in Nigeria.
On 19 October the Minister for Africa @JamesDuddridge assured me that the UK Government had provided no funding to SARS units.
— Kate Osamor| Labour – Co-operative MP| Edmonton || (@KateOsamor) October 29, 2020
Part of the letter read, “Through our CSSF-funded Nigeria Policing Programme, which ended in March 2020, FSARS officers participated in training on amended Nigerian police guidance designed to improve human rights, training on public finance and community policing workshops.
“This was in support of our broader objectives to strengthen the capacity, accountability and responsiveness of the Nigerian Police Force.
“The Nigeria Policing Programme was part of our Society and Justice Reform Programme, which is working to help deliver a criminal justice system that better protects the human rights of all Nigerians.”