End SARS Protests

The Special Anti-Robbery Squad also known as SARS was formed in 1992 as a counter to the rising number of armed robberies in Nigeria. The members of SARS have been known to unjustly arrest people and use multiple forms of violence such as raping, hitting, stealing, and kidnapping to do so. 

Many Nigerians were done waiting and watching the unjust actions committed by SARS for 28 years, but nothing was really done to prevent the actions of SARS. However, the breakthrough finally came when a viral video was posted of a man allegedly being killed by SARS. The people of Nigeria knew that it was now time to take matters into their own hands, and so came the EndSARS movement and protests.

One of the first people to take action against SARS and take part in the EndSARS movement was 22-year-old Rinu Oduala. On October 7, 2020, Oduala began protesting the disbandment of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad right in front of Babajide Sanwo-Olu’s (Lagos’ Governor) office. Oduala also utilized her large social media following of 172,000 followers (Currently 292,200 followers) to gather people together and peacefully protest for the EndSARS movement. 

However, the peaceful protests of the End SARS movement got violent really quickly. On October 20-21, 2020, the police attacked peaceful protestors at the Lekki Toll Gate in Lagos, Nigeria. Many victims of this attack call it a massacre due to the number of deaths and fatalities. Currently, the Nigerian government denies that anyone was fatally hurt during the attack at the Lekki Toll Gate. Due to the denial by the government, most people received calls from the surviving victims rather than the government or police that their loved one had passed away due to the attack, and the body was taken away by the police. Even today some people still haven’t found the bodies of their loved ones only to make people want to protest more.

Eventually, the growing pressure the Nigerian government faced became unbearable, and as a result the government gave in. The Nigerian government finally disbanded the Special Anti-Robbery Squad, but the people of Nigeria still protested. The protests were now not just about EndSARS, but they were now about the issues the population of Nigeria faces because of the government. 

The corruption that is found in the government was now being confronted front and center. These protests began helping the youth of Nigeria speak their minds and have now become a movement of change and a movement of equality. The government still really despised these movements and as a result abused their power. The government of Nigeria froze protestors’ bank accounts and prevented them from having funds for a 90 day period. The government also took passports away from protestors and prevented them from travelling and being identified as Nigerians.

Even through the corruption and abuse of power by the government the people of Nigeria never gave up. Nigerians used this as an opportunity to grow and help one another. The protestors earned $350,000 to provide legal help for the arrested protestors, to pay medical bills for the injured, and to provide security for the current protests.

What started as a protest to end the Special Anti-Robbery Squad in Nigeria is currently a movement of ending government corruption, promoting gender equality, and voicing change. The End SARS movement and protests goes to show that change can happen, if one is willing to try. Who you are, what your age is, and more do not prevent you from promoting change. In the end one must just get up and try.