People in Nigeria have reverted to the streets and have been protesting to put an end to police brutality as they are not satisfied with the new police unit that has been formed and the pledge that prevents use of violence against protestors.
For the past week, nationwide marches have been walked and calls for an outdo of police forces have been made. Earlier, protestors were met with beatings, tear gas, gunfire and other brutal forces by the police which have resulted in the killing of about 10 people, according to the human rights group Amnesty International.
New unit also despised by protestors
A range of announcements and declarations have followed the protests. The Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) was formally dispersed on Sunday. It was suspected by the protestors that they have been beating, killing and extorting for quite some time.
Police settled not to use force against the demonstrators on Tuesday. A new unit to take the place of the older ones was also announced, the Special Weapons and Tactics Team (SWAT). But this too was met with suspicion among the protestors, they believed that a new unit will simply do the same things that SARS did.
Hundreds of people were seen together in the capital city Abuja along with Lagos and Warri, to put forth their demands for police reforms.
“What they do is… give them new uniforms, call them a different name, but they are still the same people in these police forces,” stated blogger Folu Oyefeso, in Lagos.
Protestors in Lagos, who congregated even in the heavy rain, sang, danced and intoned. Many were holding banners, with one that read “Stop killing our dreamers. #EndSARS now.”
Governor’s appeal to protestors
Appeals to cool the protests were made by the state governor of Lagos Babajide Sanwo-Olu on Wednesday. He stated that the gridlock because of the protests was hurting the businesses which were still in the process of getting back on their feet in the midst of the pandemic.
“People are just coming back to businesses. It would be unfair for those businesses not to be able to get back on their feet again,” he asserted.