Anambra State governor Willie Obiano on Thursday said he has sacked James Nwafor as senior special assistant on security.
Obiano announced Nwafor’s sacking when he spoke with young persons protesting against police brutality in Anambra.
“James Nwafor, former OC SARS in Anambra State is sacked and will be prosecuted,” Obiano said while lending his voice in solidarity to the nationwide protest against brutality, harassment, extortion and extrajudicial killing of Nigerians by police personnel.
“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.”
CSP James Nwafor has been accused of killing over 100 people and dumping their dead bodies in Ezu river, a borders between Enugu and Anambra.
CSP Nwafor (now retired), the SARS Commander in Awkuzu between 2012 and early 2016, was accused of masterminding the disappearance (or possibly death) of hundreds of people whose whereabout are still unknown in Anambra State.
The situation was so serious that Amnesty International carried out two phases of investigations (in 2014 and 2016) into the activities of Awkuzu SARS and produced damning reports of torture, unlawful killings, disappearance of detainees, unlawful arrests and prolonged detentions without trial that take place at the unit.
Other atrocities linked to the Nwafor-led Awkuzu SARS include conversion of suspects’ properties to personal use and the demand and collection of outrageous sums as bail fees in exchange for freedom.
CSP Nwafor was redeployed in 2016 after a series of petitions were made against him in connection to severe human rights violations.
On the 12th of September 2016, CSP Nwafor was recalled to Awkuzu SARS but his return was met with strong opposition from human rights groups within and outside the state.
Following the strict oppositions that kept growing, Nwafor was removed from Awkuzu SARS in less than two weeks. He was reposted to the Administrative Department at the State Command Headquarters, Awka where he worked until he retired in April, 2018.
Shortly after CSP Nwafor’s retirement, it was rumoured that the Governor of Anambra State, Willie Obiano, has appointed him as his Senior Special Assistant on Security Matters in 2018.
The appointment was again heavily criticized by human rights groups and civil society actors in the state who referred the state government to the many cases of severe human rights violations linked to CSP James Nwafor when he was head of SARS.
Some of the human rights groups that fought against CSP James Nwafor’s impunity are:
- Amnesty International
- Network on Police Reform in Nigeria (NOPRIN)
- International Human Rights and Equity Defense Foundation (I-REF)
- Civil Liberties Organisation (CLO)
- International Society for Civil Liberties and Rule of Law (INTERSOCIETY), etc.
Amidst the nationwide #EndSARS protest, Nigerians are calling on relevant authorities to investigate CSP James Okafor who hails from Ezza North Local Government in Ebonyi State.
Nigerians have seized the opportunity to narrate their awful experiences with the 59-year-old former SARS commander and other activities of Awkuzu SARS unit.