Unimpressed by the SARS ban implemented by the IG Nigerian Police, youths, mothers, celebrities all over the country took to the streets to protest for the unequivocal disbanding of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad, SARS. Lagos and Abuja kicking off into other parts of the country, with protesters camping in front of government buildings overnight until their voices were heard. The message was clear and unyielding, given the past concessions made in over 4 different points in the past when SARS was banned from the streets, only to make a return to the status quo.
In Ogbomoso, police officers fired live ammunition at protesters, killing a young onlooker, Jimoh Isiaq who died at the Bowen hospital from the bullet wound to his lungs. May his soul rest in peace. His death gave more ammunition to the movement, with the variations of #EndSARS trending on Twitter for close to 2 weeks now. Protests spread to London, Washington DC and Toronto, amongst other cities. International celebrities and football players joined in calling for an end to the police brutality in Nigeria as awareness continued to spread.
President Buhari convened an overnight meeting with the IGP to address the situation as the nation continued to heat up with anger at the injustices and sorrow from the unnecessary killings.
This morning, 11 October, the IGP announced the dissolution of SARS, more details to come. As we know it, the members of this unit will be redeployed. The areas of armed robbery and violent crime which fell under the SARS responsibilities will have alternatives presented in due course. He plans to institute a Citizens and Strategic Holders Forum to interface with leadership of the police force on all levels. An investigation team will be convened to deal with police crimes against citizens.
It is yet to be seen if fundamental issues with profiling Nigerian youth and police brutality will be addressed with these measures. It appears with redeployment the dissolution might simply be symbolic.