End Special Anti-Robbery Squad (ENDSARS) or #EndSARS is a social movement in Nigeria that started on Twitter calling for banning of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad, a unit of the Nigerian Police Force.
It is a call to end police oppression and brutality in Nigeria. The protests started as a social media campaign using the hashtag #ENDSARS to demand for Nigeria’s government to scrap and end the deployment of Nigeria Police Force Special Anti-Robbery Squad, popularly known as SARS.
Within a weekend (9-11 October 2020), the #ENDSARS hashtag had up to 28 million tweets. (ENDSARS)
Nigerians have shared both stories and video evidence of how members of SARS engaged in kidnapping, murder, theft, rape, torture, unlawful arrests, high-handedness, humiliation, unlawful detention, extrajudicial killings, and extortion.
By Nduka Orjinmo, BBC News, Abuja
If the president accepts the army’s offer to step in, it means the government hasn’t learnt from past mistakes – it would be trying to solve new problems with old solutions that never worked before.
Nigeria’s army has a bloody history quelling civil disobedience.
The army coming in could make everything that has happened in the last week – with the deaths of at least 10 people caused by the protests, and the notoriety of the now disbanded Sars – look like child’s play.
The generation leading the protests has no experience of military rule – which ended in 1999 – and its brutal repressions of civil disobedience, so it’s hard to know how they will react.
But if there’s anything the last week has shown, it is that this group doesn’t give up easily.
What has the government done?
It has promised to meet several of the protesters’ demands.
As well as banning Sars, President Muhammadu Buhari has promised an “extensive” reform of Nigeria’s police service.
The authorities have also vowed to free all those protesters who have been detained.
They say that all Sars officers will undergo a psychological and medical examination before further training and redeployment, and that Sars officers will not be redeployed to the unit set up to replace it, the Special Weapons and Tactics (Swat) team.
However, the protesters remain sceptical, pointing out that several previous pledges to abolish or reform Sars were not fulfilled.