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Sunday, November 28, 2021
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CANADA REJECTS EX-SARS OFFICER REFUGEE STATUS FOR “CRIMES AGAINST HUMANITY” IN NIGERIA

Olushola Wazzi Popoola, a former member of the dissolved Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) of the Nigeria Police Force has been denied asylum request in Canada for crimes against humanity.

Popoola was a member of the notorious SARS between 2002 and 2005 in Abuja, and 2009 and 2011 in Lagos when he resigned following his father’s death.

He travelled to the United States in 2016 before crossing over to Canada where he claimed refugee status.

The Immigration Division of the Immigration and Refugee Board eventually determined him to be inadmissible to Canada after reviewing documentary evidence that SARS committed crimes against humanity from 2002 to 2015.

He went to contested the division’s decision in court, but Canada’s Federal Court in Ottawa, Ontario has now ruled against the former law enforcement officer in a judgement delivered on April 8, 2021.

In a judgment given by Justice Sébastien Grammond, he ruled that it was not important that Popoola didn’t directly participate in atrocities documented against SARS, but that he was guilty by association as a member of the dreaded SARS.

“The IDs reasons for preferring the documentary evidence to certain aspects of Mr. Popoola’s testimony were adequate,” the court ruled.

SARS was dissolved last October following historic nationwide protests against incessant Police brutality.

Officers of the Police tactical unit SARS were notorious for numerous acts of abuse including harassment, extortion, torture, and extra-judicial murder. In 2020, there was a serious protest against the unit which led to the dissolution of the unit by the President.

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