NIGERIAN YOUTH AND SARS: WHO IS NEXT?

By: Victoria Fakiya/www.africanakua.com, Nigeria

Are you even aware of the everyday-SARS harassment, extortion, and killings? Oh, I bet you don’t know because it’s not yet your turn or your loved ones’.

Or is it the media? Leave the Nigerian broadcasting TVs for a moment because they probably just proved to us that the youth are not their priority but the government is.

The Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) was created in 1992 by Simeon Danladi Midenda, a former police commissioner mainly because a Nigerian army Colonel was killed by police officers in Lagos.

When this happened in 1992, the Nigerian army waged war against the Nigerian police. This prompted some of them to resign while others left the police without notice. Due to the absence of the Nigerian police, crime rates increased. Hence, SARS was formed and monitored by the Nigerian army.

Along the line, the Nigerian police and army came to a mutual agreement, and the police officially commenced their duties in Lagos. Thereafter, in Lagos, SARS was officially commissioned by the army. That is, SARS was saddled with the responsibilities to detain, investigate, and prosecute people ‘involved’ in armed robbery, kidnapping, and the likes.

Nonetheless, SARS became a pain in the skin when they started prosecuting innocent youths in Nigerian universities in 2009.

SARS wasn’t formed to carry guns about or kill anyone. It wasn’t established to harass or extort items from anyone.  It was meant to protect Nigerians from armed robbers, kidnappers, and the likes.

Ironically, SARS which was established to be our protector has rather become our attacker; and it attacks us so bad.

The criterion SARS uses to identify its victims is to find a young person who lives a comfortable life. 

SARS officials would impound vehicles, or iPhones, iWatches, and other expensive things owned by young persons. They will molest any young persons who wear designer clothings or dreadlocks or carry fanciful things around. Sometimes they would shoot and kill them in cold blood if they do not comply with their orders. The murder of these youths do not only cause unending pain and sorrows to their parents and families but cost the nation as well. You don’t kill your youths away!!!

It is no longer safe out there, especially on the streets. Every youth is at risk!!!

Innocent people are being harassed daily merely because of how good looking they are. Is it a crime for young people to be successful or to look flashy? Is it a crime for the youth to own expensive stuff? I’m not denying the fact that there are internet fraudsters in the country contributing to crime. The point is, SARS doesn’t do its work anymore. Rather, they keep extorting material possessions and money from both the criminals and the innocents. They extort a lot from the criminals leaving them with no option than to continue doing what they are doing. Hardly would you hear that a criminal was detained or brought to book.

You might be wondering if this war is for the male youth. Don’t get it twisted, the point is, if this menace is not brought to an end, nobody would be safe, male or female.

Police/SARS brutality in Nigeria

Just yesterday, 8th October 2020, a lady was shot in the mouth at Opebi road, Ikeja, Lagos on a peaceful protest to end SARS. If this is not brought to an end, not only the males would be harassed, wrunged and shot dead but everyone including the females.

I’ve witnessed young people being harassed. For instance on Saturday, 4th October 2020, on my way to the national museum for the annual exhibition, I saw a young man, probably in his early 30’s being harassed. Again, returning home from work every day of the week last month, September, I could recount the number of young people I saw being harassed including some very close friends of mine.  A good friend of mine was slapped in the face and detained for a night until he agreed to give SARS personnel some money before they released him.

Also, while coming back from the museum that Saturday evening, the Uber driver told my friends and I to put down our phones. He said the light from our phones could attract SARS. He was so scared and you could literally see him fidgeting on the wheel.

Is this the Nigeria of your dream? Is it until you or your loved ones are harassed, squeezed by SARS before you do something? I know that most of us are not aware of this menace because the media are not loud about it. Hence, this article. This is a clarion call. A call to action. A call to be vigilant out there. A call to join the protest in different states or online by using the hashtags, #EndSARS #EndSARSImmediately #EndSARSNow #EndSARSProtest and #PoliceBrutality.

If you can, lend your voice to the world, help us tag international media on your platforms. Use your platforms to spread the word and create a new Nigeria for you and your loved ones to live in. Just like the #BLM movement, this is our own movement. If you live outside Nigeria, lend your voices. Help create awareness. Use the hashtags on your platforms as well.

#AfricaNakua #EndSARSImmediately #EndSARSProtest #PoliceBrutality #EndSARSNow

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