Protests take place across Nigeria as young people take to the streets protesting against harassment and police brutality by the special anti-robbery squad (SARS) officers.
On the 9th of October, young people in Nigeria took to the streets to protest against police brutality and harassment of innocent young people in Nigeria. Among them were also mothers who staged a protest against the killings of their children. Some celebrities and social media influencers also took part in the protest such as Tiwa Savage, Davido, Genevieve and Don Jazzy.
Yesterday 9th of October, the hashtag #EndSARS was the number one trending topic worldwide on Twitter as tweets on police violence and harassment from Nigerians took centre stage.
International support for the #EndSARS protest
Support for the #EndSARS protest from celebrities across the world has increased interest in the issue and made many aware of the situation in Nigeria.
We have them take to Twitter to tweet their support for young people in Nigeria. The likes of Trey Songz, Big Sean, John Boyega and others voice their support for the #EndSARS protest.
Trey Songz American singer-songwriter tweeted: “speak out against what’s going on in Nigeria right now. Their pleas to #EndSarsNow IS VERY REAL. I have so much love for my Nigerian fans and it’s so hurtful to hear whats happening.”
“Police brutality here in America often is an abuse of power-driven by race. To be brutalized, extorted and murdered by your own people is unimaginable. Prayers up and I’m researching ways I can help. #EndSARS.” He also quoted a tweet by Davido on the matter and said: “I stand with you”
These stories show a tip of the iceberg of the harassment experienced by young people at the hands of some officers in the SARS unit of the Nigerian police force.
How has the Nigerian Government responded?
The Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari tweeted his response in his commitment to ending police brutality across Nigeria. However, many young people are not convinced or happy with the statement. Nigerians are now calling for action to be taken to end police brutality against young people and the demand to end the SARS unit completely have increased. Below is a tweet by the President:
Nigerians share their experiences of police brutality
Many Nigerians poured out to the streets to protest against the brutality they have faced. Others on twitter reacted with their experiences of harassment by SARS officers.
The action taken by many police officers to arrest citizens for simply looking expensive raises many questions on their training. You must wonder why or what led to such thinking, I do wonder as well.
The above tweets only show a tip of the experiences many have had which for some sadly led to their death. When you hear or read about the experiences of many encounters, you are left wondering why nothing has been done. We are yet to see evidence that the reforms promised in previous years would lead to change.
The call for ending SARS in Nigeria is one that has been boiling and is now hit the right temperature of frustration. Only time will tell if this protest will lead to any course of action from the government.
The change young people ask for is to be able to work hard, reap the fruits of their labour and enjoy it in peace without harassment for looking good, driving a nice car or owning a laptop or digital devices.