Over the past week, the protest rising against police brutality (#ENDSARS) has been the headline on every news outlet in Nigeria. This protest didn’t just come out of nowhere. It arose from the bottled up anger of Nigerians over the past few years. As we all know, police brutality is the use of excessive, unjustified force (typically in the form of physical abuse. It can also be in the form of verbal abuse), by a police officer while carrying out law enforcement duties.
Before I continue, let me give a proper definition of the Special Anti – Robbery Squad also known as SARS. It is a Nigerian police force unit, under the force criminal investigation and intelligence department in the federal republic of Nigeria. Created in 1992, it was established to detain, investigate and prosecute people involved in criminal activities, like armed robbery, kidnapping and other forms of crimes. But over the years, this squad has diverted from the main purpose for which it was created. In recent years, rather than protecting the rights of citizens, they have been violating and abusing them. They’ve been known to constantly harass innocent Nigerian youths everyday, because they assume these people are internet fraudsters and criminals. Instead of focusing on the real criminals out there, who are raping our girls, kidnapping our people, killing our youths, they are out there wasting their time harassing and looking for what they can extort from people!!!! Just yesterday, a young man, Jimoh Isiaq was killed. He was a peaceful protester, who joined in the ogbomosho protest in Lagos State yesterday. This young man was killed in cold blood and in broad daylight, by the very ones who swore to protect our lives!!! I live in a country, where my mates are afraid of going out of their houses to the bus – stop, because of this squad. They come with their vans and carry teenage boys and young men, to their station, only to have them beaten and tortured for no reason, other than the fact that they look like criminals when they are not. Just because they carry nice looking phones and wear good clothes and shoes, this youths are treated like criminals.
So, on social media, many people are of the opinion that this squad has to be removed from the police force. Many people, believe that putting an end to SARS is the best solution. I met up with two Nigerians, who actually thought otherwise.
“SARS needs reformation. It is not only SARS, but the entire Nigerian police force. At times, when you see the attitude of some of these police men, you ask yourself; how were they recruited in the first instance? They get drunk and are not properly dressed on duty. They collect money illegally from people, all in the name of working. It is not a question of scraping SARS away, because the other police men in the other units aren’t even better, they’re all the same. An average Nigerian police man needs reorientation. So, it isn’t a matter of scraping, there is need for the total reorientation of the Nigerian police force”.
I think I’ll have to agree with this. Other police men in other units aren’t better than these men. If we say end SARS, then we should also say end the police force, because they are all the same. Rather than carrying out their duties, you see them harassing people. Here’s what the other Nigerian had to say;
“#EndSARS is trending, so everyone is trending with it. Social media is a one way traffic everyone tends to flow with, without pausing to ask a simple question.
SARS should be reformed. If SARS is removed or scrapped, the rate of crime will definitely triple in our society. The very bad guys are scared of SARS. The truth is SARS have some bad eggs that spoil their name and those are the ones that need to be removed from the unit”.
I believe that there’s a lot of truth here. The bad ones who are spoiling the name of this squad, have to be removed. There’s been recent news that the squad has even been dissolved already.
I’m not writing this post just because it is happening in my country. I’m writing this post because police brutality is an issue that has been and is still affecting the world. We have people out there, who are afraid of going out of their houses. They’re afraid of getting shot by a police officer just because of the colour of their skin!!!! They are afraid of getting shot by a police officer just because they look like criminals when they are not!!!! Police brutality isn’t just happening in U.S.A or in Nigeria.It is happening everywhere.
Do we have any idea, how Breonna Taylor’s mother felt, when she heard that her daughter was dead? Do we have any idea, how Jimoh Isiaq parents felt, when they heard that their son was dead? Do we have any idea, how parents whose children die as a result of police brutality, feel when they hear the news of their child’s death? Do we have any idea how Jacob Blake’s family felt, when they heard that he had been shot?
We will no longer stay in the shadows and keep quiet. Stand up and say their names!!!!We need justice and we need it now. No more harassments!!! No more abuse!!!!! No more killings!!!! And no more police brutality ✊✊✊!!!!