Tech leaders of the #StopRobbingUs campaign are calling for more survivors of the systematic attacks of the Nigerian Police Force (NPF) to come forward as they commence legal proceedings.

The #StopRobbingUs campaign was launched in September 2019 to put an end to the common practice where NPF officers, especially the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), stop young people with laptops or any electronic gadget and unlawfully arrest, attack or, in extreme circumstances, kidnap them, forcing them to withdraw funds from their bank accounts in order to regain their freedom.

Since its launch, the campaign has garnered support from some of the biggest names in Nigeria’s $2 billion tech sector, as well as public policy advocates and has to-date, raised $45,000 (₦725 billion) to support a public awareness and legal campaign. A number of survivors have already come forward, however the campaign is now urgently calling for more survivors to come forward to support the multiple legal suits.

Survivors can contact the campaign via bit.ly/stoprobbingus-survivors.

The #StopRobbingUs campaign has formally engaged Probitas LLP as legal representation to drive the legal advocacy. The team will be calling for a more robust internal disciplinary process against police officers perpetrating the unlawful act, and ensure that those found guilty are dismissed and punished, as a deterrent to other officers. They will also deploy all legal options to stop the harassment and robbery of persons with laptops, casual dress and dreadlocks.

Probitas Partners LLP; BA Law; Babalakin & Co; Sofunde, Osakwe, Ogundipe & Belgore; Smithworth Partners; Pistis Partners and K & C Partners have agreed to render the service pro bono, with the #StopRobbingUs campaign covering expenses from the funds raised.

Chief ‘Bolaji Ayorinde, SAN, OFR, will lead the team, which includes Tola Oshobi, SAN of Babalakin & Co; Chairman of the Lagos Branch of the Nigeria Bar Association, Yemi Akangbe of Sofunde, Osakwe, Ogundipe & Belgore; Mutiu Ganiyu of Smithworth Partners; Mayowa Owolabi of Pistis Partners, and Kelechukwu Uzoka of K & C Partners. Wale Irokosu, Managing Partner, Probitas Partners LLP will coordinate the strategy.

Ms Odun Longe says: “Since we launched the #StopRobbingUs campaign, we have been inundated with stories of young people in the tech sector—men and women—being illegally detained and extorted by rogue police officers. We want many more to come forward to share their experiences with us, so that we can come together as a community to fight these illegal detentions. We have attempted to engage federal and government bodies, with some acknowledgement of the current situation, however we feel that due to the severity of the attacks on so many of our young people,  virtually on a daily basis, the only viable next step is to take legal action against those who commit these crimes.

“We are thankful for the donations that have been received already to help fight this campaign, and also we cannot thank enough Probitas LLP for acting as legal representation on a pro bono basis. Their professional expertise in this area will help us build on the momentum we have already gathered, as we say #StopRobbingUs!”

Survivors of attacks by police officers who wish to support the campaign should visit http://bit.ly/stoprobbingus-survivors to share details of their attack.