Why are Nigerians opposing police brutality

The Inspector General of Police announced 10 days ago that the controversial SARS unit was being disbanded and its officers re-appointed.

But protests continue in cities across the country, with some urging young Nigerians to continue to hit the streets until the entire police force improves.

For more than a quarter of a century, SARS led the country’s most serious crimes – armed robbery, kidnapping, assault and murder. But over time it has become notorious for alleged abuses committed with outright malfeasance.

The government promised to overhaul the unit in 2018 following a month-long social media campaign by Nigerian activists, which the opposing squad opposed to alleged human rights abuses. In January 2019, Police announced further improvements in the unit.

But critics say there has been little change as a result of the #EndSARS campaign.

Human rights group Amnesty International released a poor report in June this year stating that it has documented 82 cases of police vandalism between 2017 and 2020 in Nigeria.

“In SARS custody, detainees have been subjected to a lot of torture including hanging, mock hanging, beating, punching and kicking, burning with cigarettes, getting into water, moving around with plastic bags, stressing detainees Physical condition and forced sexual violence are involved, ”the report said.

“The findings of our research suggest that some cases are investigated and rarely an officer is brought to justice because of torture and other ill behavior.”

When contacted by CNN earlier this month regarding allegations of misconduct by SARS officials, Lagos state spokesman Muivah Adjobi said all complaints against its officers were carefully investigated and appropriate sanctions were imposed on the perpetrators. He encouraged those affected by police misconduct to report abuse.

How did the unrest start recently?

After weeks of online outrage from young people in the country over claims of kidnapping, harassment and extortion by SARS, protesters started taking to the streets about two weeks ago.

Kanye West and other stars join global protests over police brutality in Nigeria
While the demonstrations have been largely peaceful, Police have been accused of using excessive force against some protesters, allegedly causing several deaths and injuries.

Amnesty International said in a tweet on Tuesday that “thugs and sponsored hoods” were also attacking peaceful protesters across the country.

The #EndSARS campaign gained increased traction globally after American rapper Kanye West, international celebrities as a singer Trey Songz (Real name Tremaine Alden Neverson), former professional footballer Rio Ferdinand And “Star Wars” actor John will sow Spoke in support of the protests

Members of the Nigerian migrant community organized protests in solidarity with their counterparts at home, with demonstrations from as far away as Canada, England, Germany and the United States.

Due to public anger, the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Abubakar Adamu, announced the dissolution of SARS on 11 October. In a video The next day, President Muhammadu Buhari addressed “genuine concerns and agitation by Nigerian police force men about excessive use of force by Nigerians and in some cases extrajudicial killings and wrongful conduct.”

Buhari said the dissolution of SARS was “only the first step” in comprehensive police reform. “We will also ensure that all those responsible for misconduct or wrongdoing are brought to justice,” he stressed, adding that “most of the men and women of the police force are diligent and diligent in performing their duties.”

A new tactical police unit, the Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) team, is formed to “fill the gaps” left by the disbandment of the SARS and will be trained by the International Committee of the Red Cross, Reuters on Monday.

But protesters are demanding comprehensive reform and further protection against police, including independent reform and psychological evaluation of officers.

Amnesty said many doubts would make the difference from the promised changes. The rights group tweeted on Monday, “The Nigerian police are skeptical of the authorities to end the atrocities as SARS’s previous claims of reform are empty words.”

According to Amnesty International, a 17-year-old man died in police custody in Kano, a city in the north of the country, who was allegedly tortured.

The rights group said that several protesters and journalists were attacked by police on the same day in the capital Abuja. On social media, dozens of cars of the protesters were seen burning in the video and Amnesty said three people were killed.

What happened overnight in Lagos?

Violence erupted in Lagos to prevent further unrest after state governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu imposed a 24-hour curfew and deployed anti-riot police in the city.

Eyewitnesses told CNN that they saw several protesters carried out by soldiers at the city’s Lekki tollgate on Tuesday evening. CNN has not yet been able to independently confirm the casualties.

Akimbosala Ogunsyanya, a witness at the protest, said, “Members of the Nigerian Army pulled over us and they opened fire.”

“They were shooting, they were firing straight, straight at us, and a lot of people got hit. I just survived, barely,” Ogunsyan said.

Another witness, Temple Onanugbo, spoke to CNN from his nearby home and said that he heard what he believed were the shots being fired. He said that the sound lasted for about 15 to 30 minutes. Onanugo said that he “saw many bodies lying on the ground.”

On October 19, 2020, protesters made a ruckus on the streets during a protest against police brutality in Igja, Lagos.

The state government has ordered an inquiry into the incident, a spokesperson for the governor said.

Amnesty said on Tuesday it had found reliable but disturbing evidence of “excessive force use for the deaths of protesters”.

“While we continue to investigate the killings, Amnesty International wants to remind authorities that under international law, security forces may resort to the use of deadly force when strictly unavoidable to protect against imminent danger of death or serious injury. Ho, ”rights group. Tweeted.

CNN’s Stephanie Busari, Eoin McSweeney, Vasco Kotovio and Hillary McGann contributed to this report.


Leave a Reply