#EndSARS: What is SARS and why is this important?

A+Nigerian+citizen+wears+an+%23EndSARS+jersey+at+a+protest.+October+10+was+given+the+name+%E2%80%9CBlack+Tuesday%E2%80%9D+because+of+its+high+death+rate+from+these+protests.+

A Nigerian citizen wears an #EndSARS jersey at a protest. October 10 was given the name “Black Tuesday” because of its high death rate from these protests.

Charlotte Harmon, Print staff

Beginning in early October, protests have sparked out in Nigeria against SARS (the Special Anti-Robbery Squad) caused by its accusations of brutal harassment. These protests sprouted after a video of a SARS officer shooting a driver in Delta State and then stealing the man’s car was posted. 

Many people globally have been posting the hashtag #EndSARS ever since that night, but this isn’t the first time tension against SARS has occurred. The #EndSARS movement first began in December of 2017 when a video also showed an intense police murder. From 2017 to 2020, there have been 82 stated cases of murder caused by SARS.

SARS was founded in 1992, by a man named Fulani Kwajafa, to reduce the number of crimes such as kidnapping or robbery in Nigeria. However, in recent years, the officers have been abusing their power by causing non-judicial crimes such as rapes, shootings and other forms of torture to its citizens. On Oct. 11, The Nigerian government responded to these accusations by claiming they are disbanding SARS and replacing it with a different SWAT team, but this only encouraged even more people to protest, causing the death of around 100 people from these protests alone. Since then, the military has stated they will do anything to defend the country.

October 10 saw one of the biggest death rates of all of the protests. It is now known as Black Tuesday because of this. Forty-eight of the estimated 100 were killed on this day. Though this day was highly tragic for many Nigerians, the President did not speak about this matter.

Nigerian protesters are now asking for reform in their country, stating these protests go beyond SARS, and more so reflect the problems many Nigerian citizens feel towards any person of authority. This huge inequality also spawns the fear the citizens feel in day-to-day life. Nigeria still has the largest population of people living in poverty in the world despite its immense oil wealth. 

The #EndSARS protests are now occurring all over the world with protests in major cities such as London, New York and Toronto. Celebrities such as Beyonce, Rihanna and Tobi Lou have voiced their support for the protesters.