Anambra gov fires former OC SARS Awkuzu, Nwafor, as security aide over alleged extrajudicial killings

Some of the dead victims of OC SARS Awkuzu, James Nwafor, dumped in the river

The Anambra State governor, Willie Obiano, on Thursday, said he has sacked James Nwafor as his senior special assistant on security.

Mr Obiano announced Mr Nwafor’s sack when he spoke with youth protesting against police brutality in Anambra.

Mr Nwafor had been accused by multiple sources of allegedly committing various extrajudicial killings of SARS suspects during his time as the Officer Commanding (OC) of Anambra State SARS.

The victims of most of the killings were mostly dumped at a river in Awkuzu, a town in Oyi Local Government Area of Anambra state of Nigeria.

“James Nwafor, former OC SARS in Anambra State is sacked and will be prosecuted,” Mr Obiano said.

He said he was in support of the youths who have staged a nationwide protest against brutality, harassment, extortion and extrajudicial killing of Nigerians by police personnel.

The youth had barricaded the government house since yesterday demanding to see the governor who was said to be out of town.

Mr Obiano later appeared today and told the youth that he has set up a panel of inquiry into the SARS operations in the state.

“Today, I joined youths of our dear State to say #EndPoliceBrutality and I support them because they did not only vote and defend their votes in my 21-over-21 victory but all their requests are genuine and germane, and I oblige to honour them all.

“I felt honoured being in their midst to share in their feelings, and I made it clear that Federal Government has disbanded SARS but I will personally visit all SARS offices in Anambra State to ensure that anyone being held is released, immediately.

A statement by the Commissioner for Information, Don Adinuba, said the governor had decided to set up a panel of inquiry to probe the activities of SARS in the state particularly Mr Nwafor.

“The governor noted with dismay reports of inhuman treatment to the youth by the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) of the Nigeria Police Force, and consequently lauded President Muhammadu Buhari for disbanding SARS in accordance with the wishes of Nigerian youths and also for acceding to their four requests for a better police force”.

“To create a more humane social order in Anambra State, Governor Obiano has decided to set up a broad-based panel to look into reports of abuse of human rights by the defunct SARS in the state over the years headed by The Hon Justice V. N, Umeh, (retired),” the statement said.

Mr Adinuba said the panel has 39 days to complete its assignment.

He said members of the panel shall comprise the following: ‘a representative of the Association of Anambra State Students; three youth leaders from the three senatorial zones in the state; a member of the National Youth Service Corps in the state; and Anambra State chairman, Civil Liberties Organisation;

Others are the Chairperson, Anambra Civil Society Network; Chairman of the Youth Council of Nigeria, Anambra State Chapter; a representative of the Youth Wing of the Ohaneze NdIgbo, Anambra State; Chairman of the Youth Wing of the Anambra Town Unions (ASATU); Chairman of the Christian Association, Anambra State; and A nominee of the Archbishop of the Anglican Province of the Niger.

Others are: “A nominee of the Archbishop of the Catholic Archdiocese of Onitsha; A representative of the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria, Anambra State; A representative of the Chairman of the Anambra State Traditional Rulers Council; The Attorney General & Commissioner for Justice; The Commissioner for Youth & Creative Economy; The two youngest members of the State Executive Council; and The Special Adviser to the Governor on Creative Security”.

The statement added that ‘the panel will look, in particular, into allegations of extrajudicial killings by a former head of the SARS office in the state, Chief Superintendent of Police James Nwafor (retired), whose appointment as a Special Assistant to the Governor has since been terminated.”

“He will face prosecution if found guilty of any of the alleged offences.”

The statement said the governor also directed the Commissioner of Police to review all detentions in not just the SARS facilities in the state but also in all police formations to ensure that the freedoms and dignity of all citizens are upheld at all times.

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