Around the world over the past weeks, hashtags reading “#EndSARS” have swarmed social media feeds. Serving as a form of awareness, the cause behind the hashtag calls for great concern. The early weeks of October have been ones of extreme fighting and fear for Nigeria. Demonstrating against the local government entity, SARS, Nigerians have long undergone an overwhelming abuse of power. As this abuse of power has seen a sharp increase within the past month, citizens of Nigeria are calling for a change. However, this call for recourse of action has resulted in vicious force and bloodshed. As people around the world watch such violent events, Nigerians only ask for help regarding one thing: an end to SARS.
SARS, formally known as the Special Anti-Robbery Squad, was enacted in Nigeria in 1992. As its name suggests, SARS was an extension of the Nigerian Police force, set to resolve crimes associated with robbery. As time elapsed, however, SARS became increasingly forceful in its use of authority. Enacting recognizable forms of police brutality, SARS was soon infamous for its exceptionally brutal actions. Aware of this, Nigerians have increasingly been speaking against the entity and its criminal acts.
Calls for an ending to SARS began on social media approximately two weeks ago, after a local man was unlawfully beaten by members of SARS who were caught on video. Demonstrations and protests began immediately after. In Lagos, Nigerians have spent every waking day peacefully demonstrating against the government entity. As protests increase, however, so have the use of violent tactics. In efforts to pacify the chants of protestors, Nigerian soldiers have been shooting into the large crowds. As of Oct. 22, a total of 56 people have been killed as a result.
While demonstrations continue, The Guardian reports that Nigerian president Muhammadu Buhari calls for an end to the protests. However, the president has not shown a sense of urgency. Many local residents believe President Buhari has exhibited fake sincerity as he has waited such a long time to speak about the violence occurring. As Nigerians lack trust in their government, banning SARS seems like an effort that they will continue to bolster.
If one is seeking outlets to aid in Nigeria’s fight against SARS, he or she should continue using #EndSARS on social media. This hashtag has garnered visibility online, spreading the cause to millions around the world. Looking to donate? The End SARS Response Unit (@EndSarsResponse on Twitter) is accepting donations to provide food, medical resources, and water to Nigerian protestors.
Akinwotu, Emmanuel. “Nigerian President Criticised over Response to Protests Crackdown.” The Guardian, Guardian News and Media, 22 Oct. 2020, www.theguardian.com/world/2020/oct/22/nigerian-president-criticised-over-response-to-protests-crackdown.
Cassady, Daniel. “Here’s Why Thousands Of Nigerians Are Protesting In Lagos.” Forbes, Forbes Magazine, 21 Oct. 2020, www.forbes.com/sites/danielcassady/2020/10/20/heres-why-thousands-of-nigerians-are-protesting-in-lagos/#54e4c3adb30d.
“What Is SARS and Why Are People Protesting against Police in Nigeria?” The Independent, Independent Digital News and Media, 21 Oct. 2020, www.independent.co.uk/news/world/africa/nigeria-sars-what-is-shooting-lagos-curfew-police-protest-b1201608.html.