#EndSARS: Despite scrapping SARS, why are Nigerians still protesting?
Nigerians are still protesting over cases of assault, illegal arrest, extortion, brutality, and killing of peaceful protesters by members of the Nigerian Police Force (NPF).
The Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu announced on Sunday 11th October 2020 that the group had been scrapped, and announced the setting up of a new outfit known as Special Weapons and Tactics Team (SWAT) yesterday, to take over from the dissolved Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) unit of the Nigerian Police Force.
— Nigeria Police Force (@PoliceNG) October 11, 2020
However, protests have continued in major cities across southern Nigeria and the Federal Capital Territory.
During Tuesday’s protests, Nairametrics spoke with protesters in Abuja who disclosed their reasons for continuing the protest. The reasons are police brutality, even after the announcement of the dissolution; general reforms; and mistrust of the FG’s plans post-SARS.
Franklin, an artiste who joined the protest for the first time, wants an end to police brutality and general reforms in the country. He opined that the country is very harsh towards youths.
“We are protesting for them to put an end to police brutality, it’s way beyond just ending SARS. Even after they have announced it, there are several other things we are talking about,” he said.
“There are things that worry Nigerian youths, that need to be addressed. It’s also about changing the country’s structure, we have gone through a lot; yet, we still complain about light. We are calling for an increase in the salaries of the policemen. Help us fix this nation, we have been through a lot,” he further added.
He said that the profiling from SARS, especially on the Creative community has been brutal, and that the shooting of protesters needs to end.
“We are Creatives, not thieves. I have dreads, I am a Creative…we go through a lot for having dreads, the Surulere shootings feels like a war that has been declared against the Nigerian youths. We deserve better!”
Jemine is protesting because Policemen still mete out violence on peaceful protesters, even after the announcement to scrap the unit was announced.
“I feel it’s not true, because there was still violence yesterday. So, if there is still violence, what we are agitating for has not ended,” she said.
“We are not just saying #EndSARS, we are saying stop the arrest, maiming, and killings! Stop harassing us! So, if you say SARS has ended and people are still dying during a peaceful protest, then it’s not over.”
Alex said reported cases of police brutality during the protests is why he is out and agitating for a complete reform of the organization.
“Actually #EndSARS is not over. They said SARS is over; but in Lagos, they killed somebody and still brutalize people. As it stands now, our demands have not been met, we also want the total reform of the Police Force.”
Bobby will only believe the FG is serious about ending SARS, when the Police Chiefs are sacked for the brutal attacks on peaceful protesters.
“Where is the proof? I was there from Friday to Sunday, we got teargased. Till we can confirm it, I personally feel they need to replace the Inspector General and the Minister of Police, maybe then we would stop,” Bobby said.
Despite the announcement of the scrapping of the SARS unit, there are still reported cases of police brutality on peaceful protesters. This is the main reason cited by relentless protesters who have refused to end the protest. They are also using it as an opportunity to call for reforms in the Police force.