#ENDSARS may just become the fight back of the youths against a government pitched against itself.
ENDSARS A review by Dami
If you are living in Nigeria, I’m sure you have heard of the biggest social movement in Nigerian history called #ENDSARS (a movement that is targeted at ending the long regime of police brutality and oppression). Even if you are not living in Nigeria, you would have a caught a wind of the #ENDSARS hashtag on Twitter. It was the number one hashtag in the world’s with over 32 million tweets in five days, it was trending in Canada, USA and London. You may be wondering why #ENDSARS became a social media sensation overnight; let’s bring you up to speed.
WHAT IS SARS?
The Special Anti-Robbery Squad was established in 1992 as a faceless unit of the Nigeria police force and under the SCIID (State Criminal Investigation and Intelligence Department), it was created to deal with kidnapping, robbery, cattle rustling and any crime associated with firearms.
This department has gone rogue over the past few years and start stereotyping youths and young adults as criminals based on appearance, the use of iPhones and expensive cars. They have been accused and guilty of killings, high handiness, illegal stop and search activities, harassment, raping of women, extortion, torture, severe brutalizing of many Nigerian youth and the total abuse of human rights
Several activism groups has documented and called the attention of the government to the SARS brutality over the years but it has fallen on deaf ears and several failed promises of scrapping this terrorist group masquerading as a police unit was made. Amnesty international has recorded over 82 cases of brutalization from 2017 to 2020 alone.
The #ENDSARS online protests has been going on for a few years. But has only yielded lies from the government that has banned this police unit three times. However the government still allows and helps this police unit to carry out unspeakable evil deeds in the name of fighting crime. Recently, protests and public outcry hit a new high with over 29 million tweets of evidences. Tweets of experiences and videos of severe human rights abuses have been unveiled in the social media space.
#ENDSARS which has gotten international attention and solidarity from celebrities like Cardi B, Chance the rapper, Kanye west, Mesut ozil, Kira Kosarin, Trey Songz, The Uk government started after a video of a young man getting traumatized, brutalized and getting his car taken away from him (a Lexus SUV) by some SARS officials in Ughelli, Delta State surfaced on twitter. The Nigerian government refused to acknowledge the videos and just like fire and gasoline a nationwide protests started on October 8 2020.
Many Nigerian youths in Nigeria and diaspora took to the streets of Lagos, London, Germany to protest against this anti-police police unit. In Nigeria, major bridges were blocked and protest camps were formed overnight at the front of the Lagos State house of assembly which invoked an emergency parliamentary session among the lawmakers. The nationwide protest went on to spread like wild fire throughout the country.
Many youths and Nigerian celebrities like Davido, Falz, Runtown, Oxlade took to the streets of Lagos island, Abuja, Ogun, Port harcourt, Ogbomosho, Ibadan, and so many cities across Nigeria to protest against this anti-police police unit. The government responded by banning all the activities of SARS but the protesters clamored for a total scrap because there has been three “completely useless” and ineffective bans over the past five years.
THE REVOLUTION DEATHS
Just like any revolution outcry and protest, the death numbers have been going up. The protest continued and the Nigerian government started using lethal force on the peaceful protesters that resulted in the death of a Jimoh Isaiq and 9 others from Surulere in Lagos to Ogbomosho in Oyo state. Unjust arrests of many peaceful protesters have taken place driving disunity in the Nigerian public. Human rights have been infringed and the Nigerian government are directly fueling it.
A GOVERNMENT PITCHED AGAINST ITS CITIZENS
The government scrapped the unit on October 11 but instead of looking for ways to reform the police went on to create another unit called “SWAT”- to replace the position of the now scrapped SARS. This has created another war against a government pitched against its citizens. Just like SARS, other parts of the government have not been working for five years. Instead looting and breach of human rights have become the other of the day. We have read about the match of students in Soweto, South Africa. We have heard about the Blacks Lives Matter movement in America. #ENDSARS may just become the fight back of the youths against a government pitched against itself.