top of page

Nigerian protests erupt against corrupt anti-robbery squad

By Raymond Dai and Larry Ye Dec. 9, 2020

Nicole Kim Art


Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, thousands of young Nigerians have taken to the streets to protest against the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS). These protests, collectively called the #EndSARS Movement, follow decades of abuse, corruption and theft by SARS, a group that was established in 1984 to combat those very issues. However, instead of preventing crime in Nigeria, in recent years, SARS has begun to target anyone who they perceive to be excessively wealthy or seem to have caused crime by harassing and stealing from them, as reported by Vox. Coupled with a growing technology sector that has allowed a developing younger population to afford products like cars and laptops, SARS has increased its targeting on the growing middle class.


Although the #EndSARS protests have mainly been peaceful, instances of violences have sprung up. On Oct. 20, Nigerian soldiers shot and killed 12 activists in Lagos after they blocked a highway to draw attention to their movement. According to The Washington Post, after toll booth operators removed all CCTV cameras from their stations, soldiers opened fire on protestors who refused to obey a curfew imposed by the Lagos state governor. A report by the Inspector-General of Police stated that 38 people were killed that day, bringing the total casualty count to 73 people across Nigeria. The report also revealed that at least 71 warehouses and 248 stores were damaged during protests throughout the nation.


In the early 2000s, when cybercrime began to spread in Nigeria, SARS began to target anyone who carried a laptop or wore nice clothes.

Since its creation, SARS has been at the center of controversy in the nation. There were reports of citizens being picked off the streets and tortured to make false confessions of crimes. In the early 2000s, when cybercrime began to spread in Nigeria, SARS began to target anyone who carried a laptop or wore nice clothes. The group soon discovered that they could get away with taking valuables from people on the streets without repercussions.


In 2017, the #EndSARS movement formed when people began to share their experiences with the police force on social media, bringing attention to perceived SARS corruption. As stated by Time, because of growing pressure, the Nigerian government announced reforms to its police force, with President Buhari signing the Anti-Torture Act to criminalize torture in the country. However, according to Seun Bakare, a program manager at Amnesty International Nigeria, the legislation was largely ineffective because no police officer has ever been charged for violation of the new law. Thus, young Nigerians continue to protest against SARS in hopes for substantive change.


“Young Nigerians are protesting to make their lives safer. However, I am also concerned for their safety. By protesting against SARS, they are putting their lives at risk because the group has been known to use lethal weapons against countless protesters,” Junior Owen Paterson said.


More than dismantling SARS, protesters also believe that the government needs to address broader issues in the nation’s police forces, such as compensation for victims of police brutality and better pay for officers to reduce the oppression of citizens.

On Oct. 11, President Buhari announced that he would be dismantling SARS, as reported by The New York Times. However, protesters are skeptical that the president will follow through on his promise. A Nigerian graduate student at Boston University claimed that the government had announced plans to disband SARS every year since the #EndSARS movement had begun but had never followed through on its promises. More than dismantling SARS, protesters also believe that the government needs to address broader issues in the nation’s police forces, such as compensation for victims of police brutality and better pay for officers to reduce the oppression of citizens.


“It is important for citizens to exercise their right to protest when the government is failing them, as it seems to be doing now. The #EndSARS movement is similar to the Black Lives Matter protests in the United States, where protesters are also calling for the police to be reformed due to cases of brutality, which shows that our broader society is in need of major reform in our police forces,” Freshman Aadish Kumbhare said.


Drawing inspirations from the Black Lives Matter movement in the United States, #EndSARS protesters hope for governmental reform to end decades of corruption and murder.

The international community, as well as celebrities, have endorsed the movement to abolish SARS. For example, the actor John Boyega as well as musicians like Davido and Wizkid have publically supported #EndSARS—all in an effort to raise awareness of the situation in Nigeria. Furthermore, the United Nations and the African Union have condemned the killing of protestors. On a global level, the Nigerian government’s credibility has deteriorated.


The protesters hope that the Nigerian government will bow to the pressure and accept their demands, which include releasing all arrested protestors and creating an independent body to oversee prosecution of all reports of police misconduct. Drawing inspirations from the Black Lives Matter movement in the United States, #EndSARS protesters hope for governmental reform to end decades of corruption and murder.

 

About the Contributors

Raymond Dai

Staff Writer


Raymond Dai is a sophomore at Leland High School and a Staff Writer for the Charger Account. He likes to play video games, play badminton and go out biking in his free time.








Larry Ye

Staff Writer


Lawrence Ye is a sophomore at Leland High School and a staff writer for the Leland Charger Account. He likes to swim and travel and loves his pet dog named Meatball.

24 views0 comments

コメント


Screen Shot 2024-02-24 at 7.54.40 PM.png
Screen Shot 2024-02-24 at 7.55.49 PM.png

Facebook

Have any questions? Want to make any suggestions? Contact us at 

We'll reply as soon as we can!

  • Facebook
  • Instagram

Notice any mistakes?

Contact us here!

Recent Articles

Screen Shot 2024-02-24 at 7.55.11 PM.png
bottom of page