On the 8th October 2020, 43 EndSARS protesters gathered outside the Lagos State Government house to air their grievances. Despite the protests being peaceful, these protesters were harassed by the men of the Nigerian Police Force, who seized their tents and chairs and brandished their weapons at protesters in a bid to disperse the gathering.
But what do the EndSARS protesters want?
The Special Anti Robbery Squad is a unit of the Nigerian police force originally designated to counter the spate of armed robberies in the country. In a wild twist, the SARS unit has persistently been in the news nationwide, accused of harassing, extorting, kidnapping, raping, maiming and killing Nigerian citizens, particularly younger people.
In what seems to be a recurring pattern, the Inspector General of Police and the federal government have repeatedly promised to reform the police unit and announced bans on SARS operations but these have so far yielded nothing. Regularly, grueling accounts of sour experiences with SARS surface on the internet.
The protesters have repeatedly demanded that out-of-control armed police unit be completely scrapped.
In an interview with Channels TV, the Public Relations Officer of the Nigerian Police Force, Frank Mba, had suggested that there were subsersive elements who wanted SARS scrapped for their selfish benefits.
It remains to be seen how young citizens clamouring for the right to live their lives freely without threat to life or harassment are subversive elements.
The Lagos State House of Assembly has also joined the call on the Federal Government to #EndSARS
So far, the protesters have had one clear, unified message the complete scrapping of SARS and a reform of the Nigerian Police Force