SARS which means special anti-robbery squad has been a problem to Nigerian youths, and other citizens traveling into the country from the diaspora as claimed by victims.
SARS is just a small unit in the Nigerian police force but their constant brutality, extortion, and killings have become something of great concern to the general public.
According to the name given to SARS unit (special anti-robbery squad), their major concern was to fight against robbery and kidnapping cases in the country, but they hardly go after such criminals as they now go after young and smartly dressed youth who own gadgets like laptops and iPhone which is a normal device found with youths in other parts of the world.
When SARS stops a young unarmed man on the road they first ask him for his phone, they force the victim to open the phone while they go through the person’s social media chat and phone contents.
The reason for doing this is to check if the victim is into internet fraud if they found their victim guilty, they ask them to transfer a huge sum of money into their account, some of their victim decline to send money to SARS because they stand on the ground that they are not into fraud, this decline to send money might either lead to severe brutality or the death of the victim.
The act of extorting money from internet fraudsters also known as yahoo boys became a lucrative business for the small police unit called SARS as most of them started leaving above their earnings. A member of SARS can be seen driving the best cars and spending extravagantly and this lifestyle became attractive to others in the force.
Some other policemen started going into the act of checking mobile phones of young Nigerians who are well dressed or those with dreadlocks, in some cases they these youth are not criminals.
This became a nationwide problem as they only did not take money from suspected fraudsters, but also started extorting money from non-fraudulent youths who go about their daily business.
How the end SARS protest started
Some few days after the Nigeria Independent was celebrated a young man was stopped in by policemen (safe delta) during a stop and search routine in a small town called Ugheli in delta state.
According to an eye witness, the boy was harassed by the police because he was driving a Lexus Jeep, they pushed him out of the car and drove away while the young man was left with a severe injury on the road.
The video went viral on social media and opened up old injuries, this made people started calling for the disbandment of SARS with several horrific videos of the activities of SARS flooding the internet.
It will be of interest that this is not the first time that the inspector general of police has dissolved this small unit of policemen causing problems in the country.
In 2015 SARS was dissolved, the same thing happened in 2017, 2018 but they were never taken seriously by the government.
The government only tell the people that SARS has been dissolved just to stop a protest while SARS continued their operation.
After the Ugheli crisis youth were seen on different videos on the internet protesting while people started putting up old videos of police brutality and crimes committed by the police.
This increased the flame of the protesting youth and it started spreading to other parts of the country.
Who could have ever believed that social media can spread an event that happened in a small town like Ugheli in the southern part of Nigeria?
Three days after the Ugheli incident, #endsars and #endpolicebrutality became the number one hashtag on Twitter as people from other countries start joining the hashtag while celebrities in Nigeria and other parts of the world started lending their voices.
So far, people have been killed in the protest, some have been injured but the spirit of the Nigerian youth for a change in the country has not been defeated.
After days of intense protest, the inspector general of police announced on the 11th of October 2020 that SARS has been disbanded while it’s men will be sent to Abuja for psychological evaluation.
The inspector general of the Nigerian police force Mohammed Abubakar Adamu further said that a new police unit will be announced, but during the waiting period, the youth did not relent on their effort to bring a change and make Nigeria a better place so, they continued the protest which has so far been peaceful and violent in some area.
On the 13th of October 2020, the inspector general Mohammed Abubakar Adamu announced the creation of a new police unit to replace SARS which has been rejected by the protesters.
The Nigerian youth has given the government 5 demands that must be met before the protest can be stopped.
Here is the demand from the youth.