Nigerians across the world are uniting in their stance against police brutality conducted at the hands of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS).
Allegations of torture, violations of human rights and abuse have come to light and Nigerians are rightfully angry.
Allegations include unlawful arrests and detainment disproportionately against young people, kidnapping, murder, extortion and theft.
Earlier in the week, protests were held across the world, including in mainland Lagos as protesters held placards to demand an end to SARS and an end to police brutality which is bestowed upon detainees, those convicted of crimes, witnesses and suspects.
Videos shared to social media showed hostile treatment at the hands of the police as they threatened protesters and destroyed their property.
In a minor win, the Nigerian police chief announced that SARS would be banned from conducting ” routine patrols and other conventional low-risk. duties — stop and search duties, checkpoints, mounting of roadblocks, traffic checks, etc — with immediate effect”. Mohammed Adamu added, “Voices and complaints on the issues of unprofessional conducts by some SARS operatives have been heard very loudly and clearly.”
Activists and protests say this is not enough though and want SARS scrapped altogether.
Amnesty International has said, “Amnesty International is again calling on the Nigerian government to seize this moment to demonstrate the country’s commitment to human rights and fulfil its obligation of holding the police to account.”
“The government must empower oversight bodies, including the Police Service Commission, Committee Against Torture and the National Human Rights Commission to investigate and initiate prosecution of police officers, who are involved in the violation of human rights.”
Osai Ojigho, director of Amnesty International added, “the authorities have an obligation to protect Nigerians and bring to justice those who violate their human rights. Unless the authorities follow through with their promises to reform SARS and end the frequent extortion and ill-treatment of Nigerians, their empty words will be just that.”
A protest is being organised in London at the Nigeria High Commission. You can also help by using the #EndSars, #EndSarsBrutality and #EndSarsImmediately hashtags on social media which spreads awareness.
You can also write to the Nigeria High Commission and demand that they take action.