SARS Dissolved But The Protest Continues

Nigerians have campaigned for years to have the unit scrapped after numerous well-documented incidents of abuse including harassment, extortion, torture, and extra-judicial murder.

The latest outrage that sparked over the past week led to widespread protests across many states in the country, the most publicly-charged demonstrations against the unit.

The initial days of the protests forced the Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, to announce a number of restrictions to their operations on October 4, 2020.

The reforms he announced were similar to those announced every single year for the past four years, so the public was unsurprisingly unreceptive.

President Muhammadu Buhari’s appeal that he’s committed to comprehensive police reform also did the opposite of calming the public.

The protests continued, and they started to spring up in more places with more people demanding the complete shutdown of SARS.

While bodies on the ground grew, the advocacy online went global with millions using the EndSARS hashtag on Twitter, and notable global figures adding their voices to advocacy.

Protests started springing up abroad too, in Germany, in the United States, and the United Kingdom.

With protests blowing up all over the country and many planned for days to come, the IGP announced on Sunday, October 12, that SARS had been dissolved across all 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja.

All officers serving in the unit are to be redeployed to other police commands, formations and units, and a new arrangement to be made for tackling violent crimes, the primary role of the unit just disbanded.

The initial public euphoria over the government’s concession quickly vanished in light of the history of the government’s failure in dealing with the unit.

While still suspicious of the dissolution of SARS, Nigerians are now demanding that the government implements a very widespread and transparent police reform that will ensure their rights to civil liberties.

This call has been made even more important by the high-handedness of authorities in dealing with protesters.

Police officers have relentlessly attacked protesters especially in Abuja where many have been injured, and Ogun State where some have been killed.

So, the protests continue.

Many protests have already kicked off on Monday, October 12 in Lagos and Abuja.

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