For nearly two weeks, protesters across Nigeria have demanded the dissolution of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), a division of the state’s police force that has been embroiled in allegations of extrajudicial murder, brutality, extortion, and other forms of criminal behavior for years.
The government agreed to this demand on Sunday, when President Muhammadu Buhari announced that SARS would be disbanded.
“The disbanding of SARS is only the first step in our commitment to extensive police reforms,” Buhari said in a televised statement. “We will also ensure that all those responsible for misconduct are brought to justice.”
But the protests continue because activists say the root problem of police brutality persists. Already, at least 10 people have been killed in the protests across the country and scores more have been arrested. The police have also charged the entertainment entrepreneur Ademola Ojabodu with killing a police officer, even though available footage contradicts this allegation.
The #EndSARS protests are connected in spirit to protests against state-sanctioned violence worldwide, whether it’s against the death squads in Brazil, no-knock SWAT teams in the US, or extrajudicial murders in the Philippines. Every time a police officer bludgeons or shoots a citizen without consequence, it further normalizes police brutality, and makes it more likely to occur in the future. The widespread nature of police violence around the world is an enormous obstacle standing in the way of efforts to achieve the United Nations' Global Goals.
As the #EndSARS protests enter a new phase calling for systemic reform, artists from Nigeria and around the world have raised their voices in support.
They have now allegedly disbanded SARS but so much more needs to be done!! 🚨 SARS is more than a “unit” its a mindset built from a lack of repercussions for the law enforcement. It’s not over yet family! 🇳🇬 #ENDPOLICEBRUTALITY#STARTPOLICEREFORM— Burna Boy (@burnaboy) October 11, 2020
The youth in Nigeria deserve good leadership and guidance. This situation is tied to many other issues. Please lend your attention to this pressing problem! #EndSARSImmediately#EndSarsProtests#EndSARS#EndSARSProtest— John Boyega (@JohnBoyega) October 9, 2020
We can’t stop now, so many things we WILL fight for. Our check list is PLENTY pic.twitter.com/5RDptEm9UO— Tiwa Savage ⚔️ (@TiwaSavage) October 11, 2020
I stand with my Nigerian brothers and sisters to end police brutality, the government must answer to the peoples cries #EndPoliceBrutalityinNigeria— ye (@kanyewest) October 12, 2020
lawyers denied access to their clients, parents denied access to their own children; in a country led by a democratically elected government. this country. 💔#SarsMustGoNow#FreeOjahbhttps://t.co/PRgMXWi7VG— Fireboy DML (@fireboydml) October 12, 2020
Next election we show real power #EndpolicebrutalityinNigeria🇳🇬💔— Wizkid (@wizkidayo) October 11, 2020
I am Nigerian first before anything .. pic.twitter.com/pypB8PzLk3— Davido (@davido) October 12, 2020