Many Nigerians have continued to proclaim #EndSars slogans on streets across the country, insisting on the scrapping of an infamous police unit.
The unit at the centre of the storm, the Special Anti-Robbery Squad, was founded in 1992 to combat cases of armed robbery, kidnapping, and other violent crimes. But SARS, instead, over time, has gained notoriety for its reckless intimidation of innocent civilians through puerile profiling and wanton abuse of power.
Calls for the unit’s disbandment dates as far back as 2017; while the Federal Government and police chiefs have made several pledges to implement reform, reports of SARS’ brutal activities against civilians have not abated.
The current wave of protest can be traced to October 3, after another report of extra-judicial killing in Delta State (the police have denied any killing took place).
It sparked fresh concerns and anger. Fuelled by this, and the outpouring of tales of traumatic experiences at the hands of officials of the unit, many Nigerians have held protests in many states, including Lagos, the Federal Capital Territory, Kaduna, Osun, Edo, and Imo.
The protests continued on Saturday as participants dismissed the ban on SARS patrol, announced on Sunday last week, by the Inspector-General of Police Mohammed Adamu and the statement by President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday asking the IGP to address the excesses of erring officials and “ensure that the Police are fully accountable to the people.”
Protesting Nigerians say similar promises in the past yielded no change; they want SARS scrapped.