Nigerian youths protesting against police brutality, extortion, and extrajudicial killings on Monday returned to the streets again in different cities across the country. The second wave of the End SARS protest took place in Lagos, Oyo, Osun, and Abuja, the nation’s capital.
Demonstrators, early Monday morning, also returned to Lekki toll gate in Lagos, the scene of the deadly shooting of protesters on October 20, 2020. What happened at Lekki Tollgate is still a topic of debate in the Nigerian media with the government insisting there were no casualties. CNN on its part claims to have evidence of casualties.
— Olufemi Ae ….♈️🇳🇬 (@OlufemiAe) December 7, 2020
What is #endSARS?
Nationwide protests against police brutality began on Oct. 8, after a video emerged in early October showing police officers thought to be from the notorious Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) allegedly shooting and killing a young man in Nigeria’s southern Delta State. Although Nigerian authorities denied the reports, protests erupted across the country calling to disband the unit and #endSARS. Though they are leaderless, the demonstrations are mostly driven by young people who say they have been unfairly profiled by SARS.
On Oct. 11, the government announced the disbanding of SARS. This is the fourth time there has been an announcement of either the disbanding or reform of the force, but activists say the move does not go far enough. Protesters have five core demands, including justice for the families of victims of police brutality, retraining of SARS officers before they are redeployed to other police units, and an independent body to oversee investigations into police brutality. Protesters have also expanded their aims beyond police brutality to harness frustration at years of corruption and bad governance.
This second round of protest appears not to be just about police brutality, but the general mishandling of the country’s affairs. Last week, Boko Haram killed 43 farmers working on a rice field in Borno. Nigerian universities have been closed down since March due to lecturers’ strikes.