Monday, October 25, 2021

Will #EndSARS protesters in Nigeria see justice?


A year on from the social media-driven #EndSARS protests in Nigeria that brought the disbandment of a hated police unit, activists are still demanding wider police reform while also seeking justice for demonstrators who say they came under fire from security forces. 

Hundreds of people joined rallies in Lagos and other cities on October 20 to mark a year since peaceful protesters were fired on by security forces at the Lekki toll gate, according to multiple witnesses. At least 12 people were killed in the attack. Nigeria’s information minister insists no such shooting occurred. 

Amnesty International says dozens more people were killed by police in other protests in Nigerian cities in October 2020 calling for the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) to be dissolved. 

The demonstrations were sparked by news that SARS officers in Ughelli had shot a young man before taking his car. At the height of the protests the government led by President Muhammadu Buhari demobilised SARS, whose officers had been accused of abuses ranging from arbitrary arrest and extortion to torture and extrajudicial killings. 

Activists remained on the streets for days afterwards, demanding that lawless officers be prosecuted while also calling for wider improvements to the police and other security agencies. In this episode of The Stream we’ll hear from activists still pushing for justice and police reform a year on from the landmark #EndSARS protests.

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