The Youths of this “Blessed” nation have been relaxed, suffered in silence, and became money making machine for SARS operatives in the country. This same youths who were called “Lazy” by their own president would pay nothing less than N20, 000 to rescue themselves from the hands of these SARS operatives because; Dyed hair, Own a laptop, Own an iPhone, Several applications on their phone, smartly dressed, full beards, Crazy or nor crazy jeans, Who am I kidding? for whatever reason these operatives can cook up, you are in their nest (its more than just the appearance for most people).
Your inability to settle yourself or pay whatever they ask for will leave you if not dead, a crime pinned on you, beatings which might eventually lead to your death or rot in a cell… so tell me what choice do the youths have?
When you talk about daylight legal robbery, it’s SARS!
Let me take a step back to enlighten you on SARS (Special Anti-Robbery Squad).
Why and when SARS was created
The special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), a branch of the Nigeria Police Force under the Force Criminal Investigation and Intelligence Department (FCIID) which is supposed to deal with crimes associated with armed robbery, car snatching, kidnapping, cattle rustling, and crimes associated with firearms (If I was initially asked what their role was in Nigeria I would mention Robbery and “Yahoo yahoo” crimes).
The Special Anti-Robbery Squad was founded in 1992 by former police commissioner Simeon Danladi Midenda. It was formed a Nigerian Army Colonel was killed by police officers at a checkpoint in Lagos, soldiers were dispatched into the streets of Lagos in search of any police officer. Nigerian police then withdrew from checkpoints, security areas and other points of interest for criminals, some officers were said to have resigned while others fled for their lives. The ruckus and absence of police increased crime rates which brought the creation of SARs with only 15 officers operating in the shadows.
In an interview with RTD CP Midenda on the present SARS he said, “Today, SARS exists in every state command. How it got to where it is today, I have no knowledge. One thing that is clear to me is that they have deviated from the original concept. The controversies engulfing SARS today will not disappear unless they return to the original concept. They should undergo reorientation and thereafter, disappear from public view and remain faceless. They should avoid receiving direct complaints from members of the public as most cases received that way will eventually be civil issue but printed in armed robbery colour” but as of today 12-10-2020, all we want is #SARSMUSTEND #ENDSARS
This special unit went further than their role, engaged in inhumane activities, illegal stop and search, illegal arrest and detention, extortion, torture, framing, blackmail, extrajudicial killings, sexual harassment of women and brutalizing many young Nigerians.
SARS became a national scourge after they grew in numbers in 2009; they infiltrated Nigerian universities for internet fraudsters and cultism, made several successful arrests but in the process harassed innocent youths. It marked the beginning!
According to PM news, In May 2010, Amnesty International slammed the country for its lack of human rights by the authorities and law enforcement agents, for the unlawful killings and enforced disappearances of citizens, unlawful detention, torture and unlawful killings.
That same month, a Federal High Court in Enugu State, ordered the then IGP Ogbonna Okechukwu Onovo to produce a Special Anti-Robbery Squad officer who had gunned down a 15 years-old boy in high school. According to the SARS officer, the teen was mistaken for a kidnapper.
Many years gone by but This they continued without being checked.
History of SARS Ban/Re-organization
on 7 August 2015, the then IGP Solomon Arase announced that it would be splitting the SARS unit into two units, operational unit and the investigation unit to curtail case of human rights violation Following several reports of human rights violation by members of the public to the office of the Inspector General of Police.
In December 2016, Segun Awosanya took up an online advocacy campaign to end SARS brutality in the country, originally started from a hashtag created by a Twitter user (@Letter_to_jack) tagged #EndSARS. The public responded well to the hashtag with people all over Nigeria posting their SARS experience
In 2017, the Nigerian youths actively took up the #ENDSARS campaign on social media alongside other activists and it later culminated into advocacies and protests in a call to end the police brutality and scrap the notorious police unit.
On 14 August, 2018 Yemi Osinbajo, the vice president who was acting as the president ordered with immediate effect the “Overhaul” of SARS following reports of human rights violation. He ordered the Inspector General of Police Ibrahim Kpotun Idris to reform SARS as well as carrying out an independent investigation. After the order, the IGP announced that the unit would be renamed to Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad, a new head of the unit would be appointed and also the provision of human rights desk officers to check reports
On 21 January 2019, IGP Mohammed Adamu ordered the immediate decentralization of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad. The SARS unit was centralized from the force headquarters in Abuja since its inception; the IGP also stated that the DIG of Force Criminal Investigations Department and Commissioners of Police in each state would be held accountable for actions of the SARS.
For this reason, Nigerian Youth want a total end to the menace called SARS. not re-organization, not redeployment, not dissolving but an End!
The #ENDSARS #SARSMUSTEND movement
This social movement calling for end of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad that started on twitter and is the most powerful hashtag in the world right now. From twitter, the #Endsars has evolved into a mass protest across major cities in the country with support from other parts of the world. It is a call to end police oppression, torture, extortion, defamation of character, invasion of privacy, brutality and killings in Nigeria.
This common problem affects everyone in the country hence the need for joint voices from everyone either by retweeting or being physically present at the protest venue or contributing financially for those on ground.
Celebrities like Falz, Runtown, TiwaSavage, Small Doctor, Wizkid, Davido, Mr Macaroni, Toke Makinwa, Don Jazzy and many others.
Football stars, actors, musicians, politicians, vloggers, celebrites across the globe are throwing their support behind the #ENDSARS movement.
Love to Nigeria, Nigerian roots!!! #EndSarsNow 🇳🇬
— Sean Don (@BigSean) October 10, 2020
— Marcus Rashford MBE (@MarcusRashford) October 11, 2020
— Mesut Özil (@MesutOzil1088) October 11, 2020
Another day of traumatic scenes in Nigeria 😫
Sending My Love To Everyone Affected 💚
— Rio Ferdinand (@rioferdy5) October 11, 2020
The youth in Nigeria deserve good leadership and guidance. This situation is tied to many other issues. Please lend your attention to this pressing problem! #EndSARSImmediately #EndSarsProtests #EndSARS #EndSARSProtest
— John Boyega (@JohnBoyega) October 9, 2020
Nigerian Youths have been called lazy but this movement just proved them wrong, protesters slept overnight in Alausa Lagos on Thursday outside the Lagos State Assembly with placards chanting ‘End SARS.’
Another group of protesters led by Mr Macaroni joined in the protest vigil even though police officers forcefully dispersed the protesters, dismantle their sleeping tents, turned off the street lights and made verbal threats.
Feyikemi Abudu who has also been at the forefront of the protest was among the protesters outside the Lagos State Assembly in Ikeja on Friday told CNN their demands were presented to the assembly, which held an emergency session Friday to listen to their demands.
“There are many demands, but the main one is to scrap SARS, not to reform it but to completely end it. Another demand is compensation for victims of SARS brutality, both alive and dead. We also want a committee that will investigate and look into the present and past grievances around SARS brutality, ” Abudu said.
An agitation started when a video showing a SARS police officer shooting a young Nigerian in front of Wetland Hotel, Ughelli, Delta State trended on twitter On Saturday 3 October 2020. It was alleged that the police officers took away the young man’s vehicle- a Lexus SUV.
While that was happening, another shooting was happening in Lagos, a video of officers pulling two men out of a hotel in Lagos into the street and shooting one of them.
These footage, leaked to the media, provoked outrage and led many to share stories of brutality attributed to the unit, The video caused public outcry on social media, especially on twitter, with the #ENDSARS .
This wasn’t the first and still not the last, even as at today 12-10-2020, day 5 of the #ENDSARS and #SARSMUSTEND peaceful protest and I can say for a fact that the police are responding with violence, teargas, spray of bullets and the dead bodies are rising in Abuja, Ogbomoso, & Sango in OYO state, Surulere in Lagos. It has become a brutal situation
"@Daddy_Noms: The Police have shot 2 people dead in Surulere & they are still shooting
— GIDITRAFFIC (@Gidi_Traffic) October 12, 2020
— Uche Daniel (@UcheDandyMUFC) October 12, 2020
— Chief Hydra (@BrianJDennis) October 11, 2020
This is live in Ogbomoso, a lautech student was shot by the policemen during a peaceful protest.
Please rt for awareness 🙏pic.twitter.com/xrh5owJrB4
— Funny🃏Banter (@iTv001) October 10, 2020
You say you have dissolved SARS but yet we are still getting gunned down… Is this a nation?
Look at an officer publicly targeting protesters in a crowded lace at ogbomoso, is this who the IGP say they’ll “redeploy”?
Police officer caught on camera, shooting at #EndSARS protesters in Ibadan, Oyo State.
INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL COURT Ogbomoso Davido Wizkid, "REDEPLOYED" #SARSMUSTEND#SARSOUT #EnsSARS pic.twitter.com/S093YghKyX
— Elevation News Today (@ElevationToday) October 11, 2020
Why must SARS end?
I cannot recount stories of people’s SARS experience, you must have heard and read stories and it eventually either leads to parting away with hard earned money, heavily tortured, sleeping in cells or death.
Earlier this year rights group Amnesty said it had documented at least 82 cases of torture, ill treatment and extra-judicial execution between January 2017 and May this year. The victims were mainly men aged between 18 and 35 from poor backgrounds and vulnerable groups.
We want the death, the extortion, the torture, the defamation, the invasion of privacy, we want our right to live, our freedom to move as want and when we want, our right to own money, rights to hustle and enjoy, our right to live life, our right to live as a free citizen, our right to live as a free man, our right to enjoy Nigeria even at its worst.
For Tony Zitta
For Tina Ezekwe
For Kolade Johnson
For Chibuike Anams
For Ifeoma Abugu
For Tiyamiu Kazeem
For Solomon Eze
For the 8people killed in Ogbomoso
It must end for others we do not know, for others in prison for crimes pinned on them, for others who died because they were too poor to “give us something”…for the unknown.
We will take it to the streets, to the churches, to the schools, to the station, the the road, the market, the toll gate, the highway till our demands are met.
The IGP claimed SARS has been dissolved but at a closer look it’s just a repeat of what has happened in the past without any real change.
“The officers from the police unit will be redeployed”… we the Nigerian youth want nothing more but to ENDSARS.