The Special Anti-Robbery Squad of the Nigerian Police Force, popularly known as SARS has come under intense criticism by concerned Nigerians on social media.
Thousands of Nigerians took to Twitter to voice out their disgust and frustration at the harassment they have suffered at the hands SARS officers, using the hashtag #EndSARS.
The social media space was dominated by numerous accounts of extortion, brutalization, manhandling allegedly perpetrated by this dreaded squad.
With over 100,000 tweets within 3 days, it was clear that the Special Anti-Robbery Squad, which was originally created to investigate criminal activities, had metamorphosed to a brutal and deadly unit.
Still, in the spirit of the campaign, the Nigerian Police Force, whose public image had been under scrutiny, committed another illegality by arresting Moses Motomi, a staff of one of Nigeria’s Civil Society Organizations, BudgIT. He was arrested while carrying out a citizen enlightenment program on public projects in Niger State. The arrest only intensified the campaign.
Apparently disturbed by the further damage such actions would do to its image, the Nigerian Police Force released Moses and denied all allegations of torture levelled against it.
The whole #EndSARS campaign and Moses’ release affirms the saying by Gunter Grass; “The job of a citizen is to keep his mouth open”. Citizens feel unsafe at the sight of the people who are to protect them. The Nigerian Police Force needs organizational reforms in order to gain the trust of the people they are to protect. The citizens have spoken.