In December 2017, many Nigerians took to social media to call for the proscription of the police special anti-robbery squad (SARS), over its alleged brutality.
Six months after, the campaign has resurfaced on various social media platforms, with citizens saying the “careless” regard for human lives which they say is evident in operations of SARS operatives is getting worse.
SARS was established by the Nigeria police to fight violent crimes.
Many Nigerians are currently recounting tales of woe and unsavoury experiences in the hands of SARS officers, ranging from alleged cases of illegal arrest to torture and extrajudicial killings.
The police had dismissed the outcry when it first began last year, with Jimoh Moshood, police spokesman, saying the SARS operatives were doing “fantastically well”.
“As we speak, SARS is doing fantastically well across the country in reducing incidents of robbery to the barest minimum… they are doing very, very well,” Moshood said.
Amid the outcry, Ibrahim Idris, inspector-general of police, ordered the immediate reorganisation of the squad as well as the investigation of alleged crimes of torture levelled against its operatives.
He had also ordered that they must stay off civil matters and that they must operate in “official uniform clearly marked for identification”.
But over the weekend, Nigerians took to the social media to say rather than things improving, the alleged brutality of the police squad is “getting worse”.
Using the hashtag #EndSARS, they are calling on the government to proscribe the police unit, as well as investigate allegations of abuse against citizens.
— ijoba Yagi (@godlystoner) June 11, 2018