Canada has rejected an asylum application by Olusola Popoola, a former operative of the now defunct Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS).
His application was turned down by the Immigration Division of the Immigration and Refugee Board in Canada for his former membership of SARS, a brutal arm of the Nigeria Police Force between 2002 and 2015. He left Nigeria for the United States in 2016 before travelling to Canada to claim refugee status.
Popoola was subsequently found “inadmissible pursuant to section 35(1)(a) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, SC 2001, c 27 [the Act]” because “the Nigeria Police Force, and the SARS in particular, have committed crimes against humanity from 2002 to 2015” including “corruption and impunity” as well as “extrajudicial killings”.
The former cop was also turned down by the Federal Court of Canada after he asked for a review. He told the court that he had resigned in 2011 but his resignation was rejected, forcing him to remain in the force until 2015.
However, Sebastien Grammond, the presiding judge, on April 8, 2021, said he had resigned from the force on personal grounds and not over human rights abuses.
Right abuses by the SARS led to a nationwide protest last October, with roads in major cities across the country shut. The protests led to the disbandment of the unit and the establishment of Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT).