For the past week the hashtags, #endsars #endsarsbrutality has been trending. What does it mean?
SARS is The Special Anti Robbery Squad; it was founded in 1984.
It was put into place to protect civilians from armed robbers. However, they extort, harass, sexually assault, and attack innocent people.
It’s a common theme that the SARS operatives will stop you, go through your phone, force you to withdraw money, all while threatening to beat or kill you.
Our cousin Tayo shared this with us “I was coming home from a birthday party with my friend Seun and sister in law. We were about to hop into an Uber when all of a sudden a car pulled up and men jumped out. They began pushing and grappling us.
“As they came from behind, we did not know they were SARS officers and we began struggling with them until we knew who they were. Seun was dragged into the car and I was left on the floor. I was left alone because my hair was short and Seun was beaten (as his hair was loc’d )and he was called a cultist.”
He was taken to Gbagada and couldn’t leave until 50,000 Naira (£100) was paid.
Seun was released the next morning, however, the trauma of that experience lives forever.
Imagine being kidnapped on your way home from a party?!
The most drama some of us experience is arguing who pays for the Uber ride home.
The depraved behaviour displayed by the SARS operatives is backed by the Nigerian government.
So who backs the People? The People.
This has been in the making for the past three years.
Since the 8th of October, protestors have given up their own personal safety to take to the streets.
They have been demanding reform and an end to the SARS unit.
As of writing this article; protests have taken place in Calabar, Surelele, Abia State, Anambra State, Bayelsa State, Ojuelegba, Ogbomoso, Lekki, Jibowu, Ajuwon, Lagos international airport, London, and Berlin.
Wizkid joined the protest in London and galvanized the crowd by declaring “I want this message to go out to every Nigerian youth. Your voice has been heard, this is a NEW Nigeria, we are not afraid to speak our mind against bad things.”
On Sunday 11th October, The Inspector General of Police dissolved the SARS unit across all Thirty-Six States of Nigeria.
“The new Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) team will fill the gaps left from the dissolution of SARS”, he said.
The police chief also ordered the release of all detained protesters after a meeting with the National Human Rights Commission.
He did not say how many of them were in detention.
They pledged that all men and officers serving in the unit will be redeployed to other Police Commands, Formations and Units.
The problem with that is the officers they should be held accountable and charged for grave misconduct, and in some cases murder.
Since writing this article an innocent bystander was hit by a stray bullet during a protest in Surulere and killed.
We really live in an age where we cannot underestimate the power of social media.
Innocent people risked so much by sharing videos on instagram and twitter live.
President Buhari held a press conference condemning the actions and brutality of the SARS squad.
He attempted to reassure the country that they will be dismantling the unit.
It appears that this has fallen on deaf ears as the authorities have been attacking, and arresting peaceful protestors whilst he was giving the speech.
The retired Chief of Police Fulani Kwajafa spoke to BBC Hausa News to condemn SARS.
Fulani was responsible for creating it in 1984. Had he known SARS would become the evil it became, he would have stopped it.
In Namibia there are protests happening on femicide and sexual gender based violence.
In Congo, there is awareness being raised as it’s come to light that the country is going through a silent holocaust.
One thing we can be proud of in 2020 is the oppressed people rising up and demanding justice and equality.
Whilst fighting racism, poverty annnnnd fighting against COVID 19.
So, what can you do to help?
If you would like to spread awareness, please re-share using the hashtag #ENDSARS.
We stand in solidarity with Nigeria, we are with you.
This is far from over, in fact this is just the beginning.
#sarsmustend #sarsreform #Nigeria #justice #Namibia #wizkid #adeptales #stayadept #stayalert #raiseawareness #uprising #feministcoalition #buharihasbeenabadboy #endswat #endsars #nigerianqueerlivesmatter #endpolicebrutality #endbadgovernance #
Thanks for this article, I had been trying to figure out what was going on. So good to see the solidarity.
Thank you for reading! We hope to keep spreading the word about the movement, it’s about time real change happened.
[…] have been following the #ENDSars movement with varying emotions from hope, encouragement, anger, grief, shock and […]