Students for Sensible Drug Policy stands in solidarity with the people of Nigeria protesting against the human rights abuses and police brutality committed by the Nigerian police force, particularly the Special Anti-Robbery Squad, also known as SARS. We condemn the actions of the Nigerian government, especially the infringing on the people’s right to protest by using violence and brutality, and the active targeting of Nigerian youth.
Protests began following the shooting of a young person in Delta State during a stop and search. The Nigerian government claims SARS were not involved, instead just ordinary members of the Nigerian Police. Amnesty Interntional has documented 82 cases of torture, ill-treatment and extrajudicial killings committed by SARS from January 2017 to May 2020.
On Monday, President Muhammadu Buhari announced the immediate dissolution of SARS, with plans to reform the squad and redeploy the officers involved. This response is less than satisfactory, as protesters have called for the complete disbanding of SARS and the prosecution of the guilty officers. Furthermore, the movement has expanded to include the abuses of the wider Nigerian police force and is calling for the resignation of the Nigerian Inspector General of Police, Muhammed Adamu, and a full reformation of the Nigerian police system.
The brutal and disproportionate force used by the police in response to the protests only goes on to support the arguments of the protesters. There have been endless reports of police using lethal force, with an estimated 10 people killed since the protests began and countless people injured. Reports mention police shooting live ammunition, using machetes and water cannons to disperse crowds.
Many organisations across Nigeria have been crowdfunding to pay the bail of arrested protesters, though one of the most prominent of these, the Feminist Coalition, has had their bank account deactivated and have claimed to have received threats on their lives. There is a strong fear the government will shut down internet access, a tactic which has been used by other West African governments in response to protests in recent years.
- SARS – Ban Nigeria Abolishes Loathed Federal Special Police Unit -BBC
- Nigerians Demand an End to Police Squad Known as SARS – New York Times
- Nigeria: Horrific Reign of Impunity by SARS Makes a Mockery of Anti-Torture Law – Amnesty International
- Nigeria: ‘You Have Signed Your Death Warrant’ Torture and Other Ill Treatment in the Special Anti-Robbery Squad – Amnesty International 2016 Report
- Feminist Coalition Bank Account ‘Deactivated’ over #ENDSARS – The Guardian Nigeria
- Use the #ENDSARS and #SARSMUSTEND and hashtag
- Contact your local government and demand they stand in solidarity with the Nigerian protestors
- Organize a protest in your local community
- Contact your country’s Nigerian Ambassador and demand they stand in solidarity with the protestors and condemn the actions of the government
There have been multiple reports of crowdfunding campaigns held by protestors being hacked and bank accounts being disabled. We suggest you contact individual protesters if you wish to support them through paying for phone data, water, food, protest supplies and contributing to bail funds. You can get in touch with our Global Fellow for Africa, Moronfolu Adeniyi ‘15 at firstname.lastname@example.org, and he can help put you in touch with people