Police brutality in Nigeria: what is the #EndSars movement? | Summary and Q&A

October 13, 2020
Guardian News
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Police brutality in Nigeria: what is the #EndSars movement?


#EndSARS is a movement in Nigeria that aims to end the police unit known as SARS, which has been accused of corruption, torture, and extrajudicial killings.

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Questions & Answers

Q: How did the SARS unit gain autonomy and become a symbol of police brutality?

The SARS unit was initially given special privileges and freedom to combat armed robbery and violent crime, but over time, they misused this autonomy to engage in brutal practices, leading to accusations of extrajudicial killings, torture, corruption, and robbery.

Q: What sparked the #EndSARS movement in Nigeria?

The movement was ignited by a viral video showing SARS officers dragging and shooting two men, which caused widespread outrage and led to a protest movement demanding an end to police brutality and corruption.

Q: Is the Nigerian government taking action to address the concerns of the #EndSARS movement?

The government has promised to disband SARS, but protesters remain skeptical due to previous unfulfilled promises of reform, and they are calling for comprehensive police reform to prevent the replication of abusive practices within other police units.

Q: What has been the impact of the #EndSARS movement so far?

The movement has gained significant momentum and achieved some concessions, but there is still anger and determination among protesters to ensure lasting change. Many protests have evolved into larger anti-police and anti-government demonstrations.

Q: How are the #EndSARS protests different from previous protests in Nigeria?

The #EndSARS protests stand out for their organic youth-led nature, their powerful online presence, and their ability to mobilize large numbers of people onto the streets. The movement has garnered international attention, drawing support from Nigerian diaspora communities abroad.

Q: What is the concern regarding the transfer of SARS officers to other parts of the police force?

People fear that if SARS officers are simply moved to other police units, they will continue their abusive practices and replicate the same problems. This raises concerns about the effectiveness of the proposed reforms and the need for comprehensive changes within the entire police infrastructure.

Q: Why are protesters demanding an end to the SARS program rather than its reform?

Many protesters believe that the issues within SARS are deeply ingrained and cannot be solved through mere reforms. They argue that disbanding the program completely is necessary to address the systemic issues of police brutality and corruption.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • The Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) in Nigeria, initially formed to combat crime, has become notorious for its abuse of power, extrajudicial killings, corruption, and robbery.

  • The outrage against SARS stemmed from a viral video showing officers dragging and shooting two men, sparking an online protest movement that later spilled onto the streets.

  • Although the government has promised to disband SARS, protesters remain skeptical, demanding that the entire police force undergo reform to ensure lasting change.

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