Nigeria declares crew flew as protests rage against the Special Anti-Robbery Squad.
The people of Nigeria have raised protests over the actions of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad. Lagos’ citizens broke out to the streets showing their displeasure and calling an end to the special squad team.
On Tuesday night, October 20, around 7 p.m., the Nigerian security squad opened fire at hundreds of people. During the event, at least seven people were reported dead, and many suffered injuries. Despite pleading the squad members, they did not allow any ambulances or medical help to reach the injured protesters.
Moving from lawful to the brutality
The citizens started the backlash and protests against the squad two weeks ago. The SARS unit is specially formed to perform undercover operations against armed robbery, carjacking, and kidnapping.
Far from supporting the citizens, the unit is accused of violating human rights. Many reports, including Amnesty International, stated the officer’s involvement in brutal torcher, unnecessary stop and search actions, harassment, kidnapping, and extrajudicial killings.
The moment first started in 2017 with the huge social media campaigns #ENDSARS. The campaign also demanded the government to eliminate the unit but quickly fell silent afterward.
As of May 2020, 82 documented cases of brutality and extrajudicial killings from the unit went into reports. The social media protests converted into peaceful rallies after videos of SARS officers killing young Nigeriens and music artists went viral.
Despite all the incident records, including Tuesday’s event, the SARS unit disagreed with it and stated that they were false claims and reports. They further stated that there were no officers in attendance during the event.
Reforms that needs a faster pace
Thousands of protesters gathered in the capital city of Nigeria to oppose the crew flee. Before the shooting, protesters described the environment as festive and peaceful. Additionally, they also set up tents, refreshments, and also a singing stage.
Several individuals involved in the protest described that the officers shut down the lights and fired the crowd upon their arrival. Inyene Akpan, a photographer present in the event, described more than 20 soldiers present at the scene.
The Amnesty International spokesman corroborating the claims stated that they are working on verifying the numbers.
The disbanding of SARS is only the first step in our commitment to extensive police reforms in order to ensure that the primary duty of the police and other law enforcement agencies remains the protection of lives and livelihood of our people. pic.twitter.com/XjQMSr3jlm
— Muhammadu Buhari (@MBuhari) October 12, 2020
To calm down the rising protests, the government, on October 11, announced the disbandment of SARS. Even after the official announcement, many criticized the matter and stated that similar statements were made before, but nothing changed.
Muhammadu Buhari, the President of Nigeria, while calling out its citizens, asked them to be patient. He also explained that police reforms would “gather pace.”
Image courtesy of femi komolafe/Shutterstock