The UK government has been caught lying over its links with the disbanded Nigerian police unit, Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad, FSARS.
The lie was exposed, thanks to the persistence of British-Nigerian MP Kate Osamor, who forced the government to admit some relationship with the notorious police unit.
British Minister for Africa, James Duddridge in a letter to Osamor admitted the UK government provided training and equipment to SARS.
Duddridge admitted British officials had trained SARS officers between 2016 and 2020.
He said SARS officers had participated in training designed to improve human rights, training on public finance, and community policing workshops.
He also confirmed radio equipment was given to Nigerian police which was then used by SARS.
Ms Osamor who had demanded the UK government reveal any ties to SARS told The Independent: “It is shocking that in the middle of global protests to End SARS our government appears to have had no ideawhether or not it was funding those very units”.
The MP said she had been told categoricallyby the minister earlier this month that no funding ever made its way to SARS units.
“The government has now been forced to admit that it not only spent millions training SARS but also directly supplied them with equipment”.
She added:”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.”
Mr Duddridge initially claimed in a letter to the Labour MP dated 19 October that the Foreign Office does not provide and has not provided any support or training to SARS units or officers.
However, in his reply on 29 October, Duddridge admitted UK training was given to SARS through the Foreign Office’s Conflict, Stability and Security Fund (CSSF).
The Conservative MP said he had asked officials to go back and make a deep dive in funding streams.
Mr Duddridge said of the training: “This was in support of our wider objectives to strengthen the capability, accountability and responsiveness of the Nigerian Police Force”.
The #EndSARS movement emerged in Nigeria during early October in revolt against police brutality.
Protesters demanded the disbandment of the unit. The unit was disbanded on 11 October.