The Issue Of Endsars. SARS is short for Special Anti Robbery Squad. It is a squad mapped out within the Nigerian police. In recent days, youths from different parts of the country came out in mass to protest against police brutality and asked the government to scrap them.
According to BBC, Fulani Kwajafa, the man who set up this police unit (SARS) accused of right abuses, has told the BBC that he feels guilty and sad about what the unit has become. He said, “ Sars of today is not the same Sars I established in 1984.” He added that the unit has been turned into banditry.”
Officers from SARS have been accused of committing extrajudicial killings and torture. This led to the ongoing protest across the nation. Thus after three to four days the protest started, it was announced that the unit (sars) was dissolved.
The Issue Of Endsars
Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari announced the disbandment of the unit after thousands of Nigerians took to the streets to protest against police brutality. However, a new agency called SWAT has been created to take over duties performed by Sars but this has also been rejected by the protesters.
Endsars demonstrators have been using the hashtag #Endsars to push for their cause, which has since been endorsed by global celebrities such as Kirk Franklin, Kanye West, Jack Dorsey, Mesut Ozil, And Marcus Rashford plus Nigerian superstars Wizkid, Davido, etc. Twitter launched a clenched fist emoji in a show of support for the protests.
Kwajafa said that the changes might be undermined if there’s no change in mentality.” He said that the code of conduct that he set up when creating SARS had ensured that there was no incident with members of the public when he was in charge.
However, the former police boss accused the agency of brutality saying that the officer’s acts could have been driven by greed.
He continued “I always tell my wife that I was sad that what I created with good purpose and direction has been turned into banditry.” He declared his support for the disbandment of the unit.
Government Reaction To The Issue
The Nigerian military on Thursday issued a warning to “ subversive elements and trouble makers” who it says had taken advantage of the protests about police brutality. The government has banned protests in the capital territory Abuja, citing safety measures to tackle covid-19.
Human rights watch has however urged the authorities to respect the right to peaceful protest. The US-based rights group also condemned the initial deadly police crackdown on the protesters which amnesty International said left 10 people dead and hundreds injured.
Lagos state governor said that the police officers who allegedly opened fire on protesters there have arrested and are being tried. However, protesters appear unsatisfied, BBC’s Khalid reports from Abuja.
The government has announced the establishment of judicial panels to investigate past and new police misconduct in all the states.