#EndSARS | What’s happening in Nigeria?

Scrolling through my feed on Instagram earlier this week, I was surprised to see several posts entitled ‘what’s happening in Nigeria?’. As a Nigerian, of course I had to look deeper into this only to discover #ENDSARS.

For those who don’t know, the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) is a controversial Nigerian police unit. Tasked with protecting the Nigerian people they have been directly responsible for the consistent harassment and deaths of youths all over Nigeria[1]. Protests are taking place all over Nigeria as people call for the abolishment of SARS. This thread on Twitter gives some further insight into what exactly is happening

From what I’ve seen on this whole matter, it seems like there is a generational struggle going on with SARS profiling young Nigerians with dreadlocks, piercings, tattoos, and high-end clothing as fraudsters and “yahoo boys”.

Today, Nigeria’s Inspector General has announced SARS will be dissolved, in a police statement;

“IGP M.A Adamu … has today, 11th October, 2020, dissolved the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) across the 36 State Police Commands and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT),” a statement from police spokesman Frank Mba said.

“All SARS officers are being redeployed with immediate effect” Mba added.[2]

Despite this announcement, people continue to protest as it seems similar statements have been made in the past with little to no avail in terms of changing anything in the country.

SARS continue to tear gas, abuse and mistreat protestors as is evident from this video shared on Twitter (one of many)

So, what will end the protests? REAL CHANGE! It’s time for President Buhari to speak up on what is happening in Nigeria. There needs to be a change in legislation and this change needs to be effectively enforced. No more empty promises made through statements that don’t mean a thing. Young people in Nigeria deserve better.

As I write this, it’s hard for me to give an objective opinion on this matter because the reality is I don’t fully understand the situation. That being said, I honestly believe that as people (Nigerian or not) we should continue to band together to help in as much as we can. Whether that means we attend protests which are taking place in Nigeria and in London. Or if it means sharing posts to educate people on what’s happening. Or if it means tagging major news outlets in social posts to get their attention, we can all do something! Police brutality is never right and we need to bring this to an end once and for all.

Paula M

[1] https://www.instagram.com/p/CGH3xFPp6Vx/?igshid=58bn0kjev69t

[2] https://edition.cnn.com/2020/10/11/africa/nigeria-police-sars-intl/index.html?utm_source=fbCNNi&utm_campaign=africa&utm_medium=social

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