World News: Nigeria’s Police Brutality Movement

Khrystal Sanidad

A new movement originating in Nigeria to end police brutality has caught worldwide attention, and it continues to grow. All over social media, the anti-brutality “#EndSars” is a trending topic. The #EndSarsCampaign began in 2017, when Nigerian activities looked to end the federal police force (the Special Anti-Robbery Squad, or SARS).

SARS, not to be confused with the virus, has been in power for almost thirty years. The unit has reportedly abused its power on the Nigerian people, with incidents of sexual assault, beatings, waterboarding, and other abuse.

#EndSARS went viral across the internet after video footage showed officers dragging two men into a hotel and shooting one outside. Inspector General of Police Mohammed Adamu announced that on October 11th SARS would be dissolved.

However, the transfer of officers to other units incited protests across West Africa. The hashtag began; now, it has reached global proportions. Celebrities are now using their platform to spread the information. Beyonce felt particularly strong about the issue.

I am heartbroken to see the senseless brutality taking place in Nigeria. There has to be an end to SARS,” the popular singer said via Instagram. “We have been working on partnerships with youth organizations to support those protesting for change. We are collaborating with coalitions to provide emergency healthcare, food and shelter. To our Nigerian sisters and brothers, we stand by you.”

President-elect Joe Biden called for police reform in Nigeria.

I urge President Buhari and the Nigerian military to cease the violent crackdown on protesters in Nigeria, which has already resulted in several deaths. My heart goes out to all those who have lost a loved one in the violence. The United States must stand with Nigerians who are peacefully demonstrating for police reform and seeking an end to corruption in their democracy. I encourage the government to engage in a good-faith dialogue with civil society to address these long-standing grievances and work together for a more just and inclusive Nigeria.”

Government officials have begun to crack down on protests and try to limit the unrest in Nigeria. Many videos show law enforcement using tear gas and firing bullets into crowds, and Nigerian police have reportedly opened fire on protesters at the Lekki Toll Gate in Lagos; one person was reported dead after the attack.

There are many resources available for those interested in helping the people of Nigeria. Multiple groups such as the Nigeria-based Feminist Coalition are taking donations to help end the police brutality. The Cut suggests writing letters to Nigeria President Muhammadu Buhari and Attorney General Abubakar Malami, telling them to take action. You can proceed to take this action through the Amnesty International website.