There are only a few things that give me more joy, than seeing Nigerian youths come together to use social media as a tool to fight for their right against the Special Anti-Robbery Squad, popularly known as SARS. Its not every time you get to see youths making use of social media to tackle pressing issues in the country, mostly because a lot of people believe that there is no point speaking up against our government, as they will always turn deaf ears to our pleas. So you can understand why I got goosebumps from seeing young people speak up.
The SARS are more popular for terrorizing people than for actually doing their jobs. These group of people continuously humiliate, threaten and kill both young and old people all around the country. And this is very sickening, because they are supposed to be a force against armed robbery, not the cause of it. Even though they have been ordered to stop searching the phones of young boys, they still continuously search their phones, and accuse them falsely of being yahoo boys just because they look good, and for the girls, they are often accused of being prostitutes. As punishment, they sometimes drag these boys to ATMs and force the young lads to withdraw money for them at night or better still, lock them up and wait for someone to bring thousands of naira for their bail, while the ladies get sexually harassed.
There was a time I saw a story about a lady who was sexually harassed by SARS, they claimed they were searching for cocaine in the young lady’s underwear. Let’s not forget that they operate without their uniforms both at night and during the day, they falsely accuse people, arrest them, and sometimes kill them at their convenience. Avoiding them is next to impossible because to do that, you must not own a car, or keep beards, use expensive phone, have a tattoo, keep dreads or even look good generally. For a supposedly Anti-Robbery squad, a think these people are more of uniformed terrorists who only want to use this force to extort and kill the masses. There are hardly people who haven’t experienced harassment or seen somebody being humiliated by this uniformed terrorist, so none of these stories are secrets, which makes it worse.
Nigerian youths have therefore taken it upon themselves to take action against SARS through the means of social media, and have started a petition against SARS. Although the hash tag #EndSARS is trending on twitter, it could still do better. Not many social media influencers are talking about these stories, neither are national TV stations paying attention to it, which is really appalling. I want to use this medium to say we can do better. It is the social duty of the media to focus on issues that affect the masses, because they are supposed to represent the masses, not just entertain them. The media is a tool for the masses, not a puppet for the rich and privileged.
Not surprisingly, the Assistant Commissioner of the infamous Nigerian Police had barely anything helpful to say. He asked Nigerians on twitter to make calls if they have any issues with SARS, as if the first thing they do isn’t to seize your phone, so you wouldn’t be able to reach out for help. Or how are we even supposed to report them when they go about attacking people without their uniforms or official vehicles. And when complains about the Nigerian police came up as they birds of a feather with SARS, he simply said this ‘To all those having frightening dreams- “shot/beaten by police”. Pray to God not to allow it happen + avoid areas where police are responding to incidents in real life. If such dreams persist, GO SEE A PSYCHIATRIST. We only deal with real life police complaints @PoliceNG_PCRRU.’ A so called Assistant Commissioner of Police making jokes about the life of the citizens the are supposed to protect, well that was almost shocking. Apart from the jokes of this man, young Nigerians are yet to receive any feedback from any of our leaders as the hash tag #EndSARS continues to trend on twitter, but we are hopeful we will get a reply, even though the likes of the Vice President of the country were fast to congratulate Wizkid and Davido for winning awards, but cannot address pressing issues that affect the masses with the same energy.
While we are at it, here’s the link to sign a petition that has been raised against SARS http://www.citizengo.org/en/96693-national-assembly-end-sars-national-criminal-operation-reform-police?tc=tw&tcid=43591039
Please sign and share, thank you.