SARS (Special anti-robbery squad) was created as a branch of the Nigeria Police Force in 1992 by a former commissioner, Simon Danladi Midenda. The intended purpose of SARS is to tackle armed robbery, car theft, kidnapping, cattle theft, and crimes related to the use of firearms. Because of these reasons, they tend to not wear police uniforms and they are allowed to carry firearms. By 2009, their scope increased due to the emergence of the internet con artist and the rampancy of university cultists. Due to the increase of the scope, corruption increased in this branch as they unlawfully stopped innocent young people and assumed they were con artists or cultists. They have also been involved in ballot theft during election season, voter intimidation, voter suppression, and going as far as kidnapping electoral officials.
In 2010, Amnesty International decided to sue SARS because of maltreatment of arrested individuals. These maltreatments include beating these individuals with the butt of a gun and iron belt. Over the years, SARS have been banned but it constantly gets reinstated. In recent years, SARS have been known to stop young people who look suspicious. These suspicions includes; having an iPhone, driving an expensive car, carrying a bag with a laptop, having tattoos, having dreadlocks, looking nice, or just a group of young people hanging out together has been seen as suspicious. The recent resurgence of the movement was triggered when a video surfaced of SARS officers in Delta state shooting a young man and driving his Lexus car away. This led to a public outcry on twitter and the hashtag #ENDSARS started trending all over Nigeria with different people sharing their encounters with SARS. This social media movement moved to the streets and people have started protesting all over Nigeria. The protests are still going on when this article is written. The head of the police department has decided to dissolve SARS. This is not the first time SARS has been dissolved or disbanded, let’s just hope this is the last.