#ENDSARS: POLICE BRUTALITY IN NIGERIA
By: CaraG @ExclusivelyCaraG
Millions of Nigerians across the country have been protesting for weeks against police brutality. The SARS unit, known as the Special Anti-Robbery Squad, was established in 1992, nearly three decades ago, to fight armed robbery. They abuse their power to kidnap, murder, and brutalize innocent people. Many of the officers do not wear uniforms or name tags that identify themselves.
The people of Nigeria demanded the notorious police unit be abolished. Marches have since turned into an end to SARS battle cry for police reform and an end to bad governance in the country. Complaints about SARS are not new, citizens of Nigeria have reported cruelty about the unit since 2017. There have been many unsuccessful attempts by the government to demolish it. Instead, they disbanded SARS and created SWAT, repositioning officers into other areas of the force.
After days of massive #ENDSARS protests all over the country, several lives lost, and yet SARS Operatives are still operating.
The source of the most recent protests came earlier in October when reports surfaced that police had attacked a man and then drove off in his luxury jeep. Similar to the George Floyd and Breonna Taylor protests in the US, they are making their voices heard and speaking up against the violence, harassment, and extortion they say they have encountered at the hands of SARS officers. While protesting, many innocent lives have been snatched by the power of these officers.
With the evolution of social media, people from all over the world are able to bring awareness to the #ENDSARS movement. A disturbing video has surfaced online of officers dragging men out of their homes and hotels, shooting them, and leaving their bodies outside. Since then, Celebrities and activists from all over the world are using their platform to speak out on the tragedies taking place in Nigeria.
While there are many parallels of police brutality against Black Americans and African Citizens, there are also many differences. Here in America, many believe we have an issue with the police being overfunded. Let's be clear; defund doesn't mean to abolish the police. Money needs to be reallocated away from the police department and poured into government agencies to access more resources for the community. Nigeria has critical economic issues in which Nigeria police are severely underfunded. SARS is robbing the youth, having citizens pay to get past them, and beating them in the process sourced from the government's corruption, and that's where change starts.