Every Monday morning, Zikoko’s new Citizen series “Politics 101” will curate the biggest news stories that made the rounds over the weekend, including the most significant news stories we’re tracking in the new week.
In the past week, Nigeria has experienced it’s biggest protest since 1993. The #EndSARS protest is a peaceful but powerful movement against police brutality in Nigeria, both generally, and specifically by the Special Anti-Robbery Squad of the Nigerian Police.
Charged with the responsibility of fighting crime and given the powers to prosecute offenders, SARS has lost control. In the past few years, and probably because of the ease in information dissemination thanks to mobile devices, social media and high-speed internet, Nigerians have told stories with both text and video about kidnapping, rape, torture, unlawful arrests, high-handedness, humiliation, unlawful detention, extortion and extrajudicial killings by SARS.
Over the years, Nigerians have come together to speak up about the SARS problem and over the years, the Nigerian Governments have promised to either reform or scrap the unit, yet, nothing was done.
In December 2017, the Inspector General of Police, Idris Ibrahim, banned SARS from conducting “stop and search operations”, except when necessary.
In August 2018, Professor Yemi Osinbajo stated that he had directed the Inspector General of Police to “overhaul the management and activities of SARS”, with immediate effect.
In January 2019, the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu ordered the immediate “disbandment” of SARS.
In June 2019, President Muhammadu Buhari directed the Inspector-General of Police, the Ministry of Justice and the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) to “work out modalities for the implementation of the report of the Presidential Panel on the Reform of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) within three months”.
In October 2020, the “Presidency”, the President, the Vice-President and the Inspector-General of Police made announcements about SARS and so-called reforms.
The unit has been held responsible for so much crime over the past couple of years and the justice system doesn’t seem to be working to put serve justice to victims.
In many reported cases, SARS operates by profiling young people who seem to have some form of perceived wealth, torturing them and extorting them. Many people have told stories of being taken against their wills to banks and ATMs to withdraw huge sums of money. Many killings happen because people resist.
A common misconception is that #EndSARS protesters are criminals who want the unit disbanded so that they can perpetuate crime freely, but this is false. Read this article to see some of the innocent young victims of SARS: #EndSars: Stories On Sars Brutality
Many people have tagged the #EndSARS movement as political. But it’s far from that. Even when Revolution Now supporters tried to politicize the protests, they were shut down. What people want is simple. They want the government to scrap the unit that is killing, torturing and extorting so many young people without cause. And that’s not too much to ask.
We spoke with people above 50 about what they think about the #EndSARS movement. Here’s what they had to say: We Asked Some Older People What They Think About The #EndSARS Movement
We hope you’ve learned a thing or two about how to unfuck yourself when the Nigerian government moves mad. Check back every weekday by 10am for more Zikoko Citizen explainers.