No fewer than one thousand youths last weekend, Saturday, staged a protest, asking for the scrapping of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad, (SARS), a unit of the Nigeria Police and an end to police brutality, torture and blackmailing.
The protesters who converged at Ekwueme square in the morning, bearing placards with various inscriptions such as “End SARS NOW, “We are tired of SARS”, “blood suckers”, and “Reform the Police System”, marched through the streets of Awka, starting from the Dr Alex Ekwueme Square, through government house, Anambra State Police Command headquarters, calling for immediate disbandment of that unit of the Nigeria police.
It could be recalled that the protests arose as a result of the incessant attack, maiming, as well as several reports and videos on the social media, showing personnel of SARS engaging in different forms of victimizations of innocent citizens and extrajudicial killings. However, despite the attempt by the Inspector-General of Police, Mr Mohammed Adamu to assuage the anger of those asking for the scrapping of SARS last weekend when he directed the personnel of the Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad and other ‘Tactical Squads’ of the Force to stop patrols on Nigerian roads, protesters argued that the directive will not address the human rights violations which is now synonymous with SARS in particular and the Nigeria Police in general.
After the directive contained in a statement by the Force Public Relations Officer, Mr Frank Mba, last Sunday, protests erupted in Lagos, Ughelli in Delta State, Ibadan, Abeokuta, and different parts of the country, including Awka, the Capital of Anambra State Speaking to News Echo correspondent, Kenechukwu Onyekwuluje enthused that the protest was long overdue, but due to the patience of Nigerians, has lingered.
He said the present situation in Nigeria and the increasing brutality of SARS personnel resulted to the boom in protests which the youths see as the only way out.
Uzoma Judith however, alleged that SARS unit has violated the human rights of Nigerian citizens, especially the young youths who dress well and use costly phones like the iphones. Mr Emeka Mmadu re-counted his ordeal at the hands of the FSARS. He said “some time last year, I was driving my elder brother’s car which he sent from abroad until I was stopped by SARS and without allowing me talk, they labelled me a yahoo boy and pressurized me to pay them two hundred thousand before I will be released.
I stayed in detention with torture and hunger until my people came to my rescue”.