Explainer: How the EndSARS protest started

Explainer: How the EndSARS protest started

Nigeria has been in a tenuous situation since October 8, 2020, when thousands of its youth came out in their numbers onto the streets in protest of the activities of a police unit called SARS (Special Anti-Robbery Squad).

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According various social media posts and videos that have gone viral, SARS had reportedly been terrorising the ordinary citizens, especially the youth, and even killing some.

One would ask why such a unit started in the police force of Nigeria to brutalise its teeming youth who are merely surviving.

Explainer: How the EndSARS protest started
Explainer: How the EndSARS protest started Source: Legit.com
Source: UGC

In 1992, SARS was created in Lagos State, Nigeria, at a time when Notorious armed robbers such as Shina Rambo6 were in control of the state, attacking and terrorising people.

Shina Rambo is a former bandit who terrorized Nigeria in the 1990s. After serving jail-time for his crimes, he was converted by an evangelist and became a Christian evangelical pastor.

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The SARS unit was initially created as a faceless police unit to perform undercover operations against armed robbers in the Lagos State but within two decades of its creation, the unit has spread across the various states of the country.

Unfortunately, the spread of the SARS across the other states without a proper structure, has accounted for most of the lawless and inhumane cases being heard today.

Their inhumane activities ranging from kidnapping and extorting money from people, to robbing people at gun point, raping innocent girls and killing the innocent youth for no reason are some of the things these SARS officials do.

The Twitter campaign started on December 2, 2017, when a footage of SARS officers shot and killed a man surfaced online.

The campaign became a trending topic on Twitter with over 400,000 Tweets within twelve hours.

This led to the publication of a petition by convener Segun Awosanya.

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The petition was signed by 10,195 Nigerians and submitted to the Nigerian National Assembly to scrap the police unit.

On October 3, 2020 a video started trending on social media showing a SARS police officer shoot a young Nigerian in front of Wetland Hotel, Ughelli, Delta State in Nigeria.

It was alleged that the police officers took away the young man's vehicle- a Lexus SUV after killing him.

After not receiving any form of attention on the said petition presented to the government in 2017, the Nigerian youth turned their petition into a protest after the October 3 incident.

The trending video caused public outcry on social media, especially on twitter, causing the #ENDSARS hashtag to seriously trend.

The protest continued for days and on the third day of the peaceful protests it was announced that the SARS unit had been dissolved and the officers redeployed to other unit.

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This announcement did not make any sense to the teeming youth who were calling for a total reform of the entire police force in order to end police brutality in the country.

The peaceful protest saw a lot of Nigeria actors, musicians and popular faces in Nigeria come out in their numbers to show show solidarity in their demand for good governance and the call to end police brutality.

On Tuesday, October 20, 2020, the Lagos state governor announced a curfew in the state as they claimed prisoners had escaped from some prisons in the state.

Ahead of the curfew time allocated, cameras at the Lekki Toll Gate in Lagos were removed and the lights turned off.

At 7pm the same night protestors who refused to go home sat on the floor at the toll gate, holding hands in solidarity while singing the national anthem of Nigeria when the military reportedly opened fire on them.

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Heart wrenching videos from what started trending on social media as #LekkiMassacare revealed how young unarmed Nigerians were killed in cold blood for demanding not to be killed.

The killing of many Nigerian youth on October 20, 2020 has angered a lot of Nigerian youth as most of them have started destroying several government properties.

News source also indicates that some hoodlums who do not understand why the protestors are fighting for an end to SARS are attacking them.

Meanwhile, the Nigerian Broadcasting Commission (NBC), has cautioned media houses in Nigeria not to embarrass the nation by publishing images and videos of the ongoing violence in the country.

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Source: YEN.com.gh

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