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  • End Sars: Why Nigerians are protesting the hated police unit

  • Wolfgang

    24. Oktober 2020 at 10:26

    <b data-analyticsid=“/world/africa/2020/10/end-sars-why-nigerians-are-protesting-hated-police-unit“>End Sars: Why Nigerians are protesting the hated police unit

    With the Nigerian economy struggling and universities closed, allegations of human rights abuses by police have outraged the country’s young people.


    One of Wole Olubanji’s friends had left a wedding party one evening when he was stopped by officers from Nigeria’s notorious Special Anti-Robbery Squad (Sars), a specialist police unit. The officers didn’t like the look of the young man, who wears his hair in dreadlocks. They marched him to a cash machine and ordered him to withdraw 40,000 naira ($100), leaving him with 3,000 naira (less than $10) in his bank account. Olubanji says his friend was powerless to resist, fearing a beating or worse were he to refuse to pay off the goons.

    The episode epitomises discontent with Sars, a unit of the Nigerian police created nearly 30 years ago to combat violent crimes such as kidnappings and robberies. Originally welcomed in some communities scarred by crime, its methods – alleged torture, unlawful arrests, extra-judicial killings – began to resemble those of the criminals it purported to be fighting. A notorious Abuja detention centre run by the unit is nicknamed “the abattoir”. Between January 2017 and May 2020, a report by Amnesty International found there were more than 80 alleged cases of torture, ill treatment and extra-judicial execution by Sars, not a single one of which resulted in prosecution. Olubanji is now one of thousands of Nigerians to have joined protests calling for the unit to be disbanded. The protests, in which, according to Amnesty, at least ten people have been killed, were triggered by a string of viral videos showing Sars use brutal and likely illegal tactics, with one clip apparently showing a man being badly beaten.

    The government has given in to pressure from demonstrators and has announced that the unit will be dissolved, though the army subsequently issued a veiled warning, ordering protestors to “desist”. Some observers, including Leena Koni Hoffmann, an associate fellow of the Africa Programme at the think tank Chatham House, warn that reform of the security services is frequently promised but rarely delivered.


  • Wolfgang

    24. Oktober 2020 at 10:35

    “We Are Asking for Justice”: #EndSARS Anti-Police Brutality Protests Grow as Nigerian Forces Kill 12<div>

    Mass protests against police brutality continue in Nigeria after security forces shot and killed 12 peaceful protesters in Lagos this week. Video widely shared on social media shows security forces firing directly into a crowd of demonstrators in Lagos singing the country’s national anthem. Authorities have imposed a curfew to clamp down on the growing demonstrations, which started as a demand to disband the notorious police unit known as the Special Anti-Robbery Squad, or SARS, but which have since grown into a wider movement against police brutality and official impunity. “We are asking for justice. We are asking for our lives to be preserved, not to be killed arbitrarily by these officers of state,” says lawyer and human rights activist Aderonke Ige, who has taken part in the protests. We also speak with Omoyele Sowore, who says young people in the streets are also confronting other systemic issues. “They are fighting against police brutality, but they are also fighting against army brutality, they are fighting against unemployment, they are fighting against the incompetence and indifference of the regime that has been in power,” he says.


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0 of 0 posts June 2018