There have been news all over the media about Nigeria protest SARS. This activity has caught the interest of many officials in the country and beyond, to support the movement. But how did it all begin?
Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) was a police force unit organized by the Nigeria government to curb issues of robbery, kidnapping, motor vehicle theft, firearms and cattle rustling.
Contrary to the purpose of its creation, SARS was linked with “extortion, extrajudicial killings, framing, torture, blackmail and privacy invasion”- PM News, November 2011. The squads operated without police uniforms but were allowed to publicly carry guns and have walkie-talkies. In addition, they were allowed to execute their duties with unmarked vehicles which had no license plates or private numbers. These acts resulted in a massive public uproar against SARS, under the motto “End SARS”.
The protest began in December 2017 by Segun Awosanya under the twitter hashtag #EndSARS. The aim was to end the unscrupulous actions by the SARS. This made some affected individuals share their experiences on social media. Coupled with the reportage from international media, the campaign received more attention and people took to the street to demonstrate in Abuja. Yet, some officials supported the SARS movement, calling the campaigners to come forward so that they will be investigated by the SARS.
On 14 August 2018, the Acting president Yemi Osinbajo ordered a reform of the association and carry out independent investigation into “persistent complaints and reports” that pertains to human right violation. A proposal was made by the IGP to change the name to Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad and appoint a new unit head.
On 21 January 2019, the IGP Mohammed Adamu called for immediate decentralization of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad. He also said the DIG of Force Criminal Investigation Department Commissioners of Police will be he held accountable for the activities of SARS.
Climax with the video of an incident where a young Nigeria man in front of the Wetland Hotel in Ughelli, Delta State, was shot by a SARS police officer, the number of protests escalated within a few days. This include social media influencers and popular music producers like Don Jazzy, Singer Runtown, Wizkid, Davido; commadians and the international media.
The results were several heated demonstrations against SARS and the Federal government at large.
So, the association was replaced with a new unit called Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT). In this new unit, the debut SARS personnel are to report the police headquarters for examination and debriefing.
But SWAT was faced with equal distaste by some Nigerians who took to Twitter share their dissatisfaction and continued to demonstrate against adventure.
Story by Sarfo