Following a series of protests, the Nigerian government has eradicated the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) of the Nigerian police force. SARS has been accused of systemic brutality including false imprisonment, torture, and even murder. According to the rights organization, Amnesty, there have been at least “82 cases” of this brutality since 2017. The main target of SARS is young men ages 18-35 in poor communities.
Protesters in Lagos. Photo courtesy of BBC.
The recent protests stemmed from a recording of SARS officers pulling two men out of a Lagos hotel and shooting one of them in the street. Demonstrations have popped up throughout Nigeria and around the world, mainly protesting the special unit, though some have spread to include all Nigerian police forces.
The protesters have faced disproportionate use of force from the police, spurring people to contend for a complete reorganization of the Nigerian police. Currently, the government has dissolved the Special Anti-Robbery Squad and plans to redeploy its members. While this is a step in the right direction, many protesters worry about the reversibility of this action and would prefer a total disbandment than a reorganization.
Katherine Conway ‘21, Local and World News Editor