Why End SARS: Things to Know

Recently, there has been a hashtag frequently seen in social media and on the news:  #ENDSARS. If you were to go and look up SARS on google, the first thing that would pop up is Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome. This illness has nothing to do with the movement’s objective.

The hashtag, #ENDSARS, is nothing new; it actually started in 2017. SARS is the Special Anti-Robbery Squad in Nigeria, and people first used this hashtag to share testimonies of violence and assault suffered due to the abuse of power by SARS. SARS was founded in 1984 to curb the increase in armed robbery and crime, but since its creation, it has been accused of illegal activity. Since 2017, according to the Amnesty International, there have been at least 82 cases of torture, extra-judicial execution, and horrible treatment. Amnesty also found that the group allegedly targeted men between the ages of 17 and 30. “Young men with dreadlocks, ripped jeans, tattoos, flashy cars or expensive gadgets are frequently targeted by SARS,” says Amnesty. The end SARS movement wants SARS to be disbanded so they can no longer terrorize the people of Nigeria.

The event that made #ENDSARS start to trend is the alleged killing of a young man by officers from the unit in the city of Lagos. The governor of Lagos, Sanwo-Olu, tweeted following this unfortunate event: “Appropriate actions will be taken, and speedily too.” The promise of this statement has yet to be fulfilled. In fact, the Nigerian government has announced that it would be disbanding SARS four times as of October 11, 2020. 

Some of the core demands of the protestors include:

  1. Justice for the families of victims of police brutality.

  2. Retraining of SARS officers before they are redeployed to other police units.

  3. An independent body to oversee investigations into police brutality.

    Due to the unrest across Nigeria, there has been an increase in curfews put in place. This movement is far from over, and a lot of change needs to happen for any progress to be made.

 

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