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FSARS officers caught on video beating young Lagosian for refusing to unlock phone



The Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad (FSARS) of the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) is in the news for the wrong reasons yet again after officers were filmed assaulting a young man in Lagos.

In a video posted on instablog9ja, a news platform, on Friday, April 12, 2019, the officers were filmed harassing the young man for a crime that wasn’t immediately clear.

The young man could be heard yelling, “I know my rights! You want money,” at the beginning of the one-minute video, just seconds before an officer retrieved a heavy plank of wood from what appeared to be the unit’s white van and then hit the man with it.

When the young man pointed at the officer and said, “You will see!”, a second officer followed up with two slaps to the protesting young man’s face. 

The first officer then hit him with the plank two more times before retreating to the van while the young man tried to make a call on the phone.

The second officer then egged the young man on to, “Call who you wan (want to) call” before slapping him two more times.

“You dey craze? Call the person,” the second officer said in anger as he continued to shove the young man.

The angry first officer then returned from the van to hit him three more times with the plank while a couple of people pleaded on his behalf.

While it’s not immediately clear what his crime was, Gossip Mill reported that two phones were seized from the man and he refused to unlock the expensive one.

It’s not clear where the incident happened, but the second officer could be heard in the video telling the young man to report at Force Criminal Investigation and Intelligence Department (FCIID), Alagbon which is located in Lagos, presumably to retrieve his phone.

The incident comes just days after the Delta State Police Command arrested an officer who was caught on camera harassing a student for owning an expensive iPhone.

A Twitter user with username Covenant Buhari (@CovenantBuhari) had posted the 44 seconds video on Tuesday, April 9, showing the officer picking on the young man for being in possession of an iPhone X worth N250,000.

In the video, the officer protested that he can’t afford to spend N250,000 on a car despite nearly 14 years in service.

Officers of the Force, especially of the FSARS unit, have been notorious for widespread abuse of power with public scrutiny growing over the past couple of years on their conducts with the public.

Earlier this month, an officer of the Special Anti-Cultism Squad (SACS) of the Lagos State Police Command, Inspector Ogunyemi Olalekan, shot and killed Kolade Johnson while his team was carrying out an indiscriminate arrest of a young man believed to have been targeted due to his dreadlocks. He was sacked from the Force and has been arraigned in court for murder.

Johnson’s killing led to widespread calls for the implementation of meaningful police reform to curb harassment and brutality unleashed on helpless citizens. Protests that largely targeted FSARS were also held across many states on Friday, April 5.

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