Jessica N. Gar
October 8th was the beginning of a series of protests and prayer walks as Nigeria got fed up with the brutality they experience at the hands of those meant to protect them. Despite the silence from the government, attacks on peaceful protesters, and silly attempts at placating Nigerians, the #endsars movement has exceeded all expectations as it has gained momentum and garnered the interest of the international community.
So, what is happening in Nigeria?
#SARSMUSTEND – A Summary
SARS is the acronym for Special Anti-Robbery Squad. Set up in 1992, SARS was created to protect civilians from a rash of armed robbery attacks that had sprung up at the time. Perhaps they were effective because they became an institution alongside the police and civil defense and all the other security agencies that exist in the country.
Then, SARS turned their eyes on innocent civilians, especially youth, extorting, harassing, attacking, and even killing them for perceived fraudulent activities. A Nigerian youth driving a car worth N7 million, wearing designer clothes, carrying a laptop, or using an iPhone, is instantly labeled as a fraudster or a criminal. They are stopped, searched, then forced to pay bribes to the SARS men after they have determined what should be given to them after looking at your bank balance.
Refusing to give in to them usually results in beatings, and even death. And everything SARS does is in the name of the law.
Over the years, there have been outcries against SARS, and over the years, the government has announced the disbandment of the agency, just so that Nigerians will stay quiet, then everything would go back to normal.
This year, even after the announcement, Nigerians did not stop. The protests continued, despite reports of arrests, rape, and fatal shootings.
The Nigerian people have decided that enough is enough, and will not stop until their demands are met.
#SARSMUSTEND – What You Can Do
Here is a handy infographic for you to use and share with friends and family, at home and abroad, to let them know how they can be a part of this movement.
Remember: you are not helpless. You can do something!