Nigerian Superstar singer Wizkid joined protesters in London against Nigerian Police brutality this morning. The protests which have been going on back in Nigeria since Thursday were being organized by Nigeria’s leading celebrities and activists as mass protests across major cities in the country grew bigger and louder on Friday demanding an end to police brutality in the country.
“Nigerian youth, I want to say to you that let no one tell you that you don’t have a voice. You have a voice, you all have a voice. Thank you for coming (to pretest) we have achieved our goal and this is just the beginning”. Wizkid said to loud cheers from the crowd.
— Nigeria Stories (@NigeriaStories) October 11, 2020
The protest organizers used mostly social media to mobilize with the hashtags #EndSARS, #StopPolicebrutality continuing to trend on Twitter as young people shared their stories, photos and videos that they allege are for the Nigeria police in uniforms searching their cars and harassing them.
The nationwide protests were a culmination of weeks of anger and outcry online by the country’s young people over claims of kidnapping, harassment, and extortion by a police unit known as the Special Anti Robbery Squad (SARS).
On Thursday, a protest was led in Lagos Island by Folarin Falana, a lawyer and singer, together with another artiste Runtown who was also joined by Nigeria’s biggest female performer, Tiwa Savage.
Falana, who is popularly known as Falz said it was important for him to march because there have been “too many numerous incidents of harassment, extortion and police brutality,” in the country added that he, too, had been a victim of harassment at the hands of the Nigerian police.
Nigeria’s police force had responded to the public outcry last Sunday by banning the unit from carrying out any stop-and-search activities.
SARS, as well as other tactical police units, are now prohibited from “carrying out routine patrols and other conventional low-risk. duties — stop and search duties, checkpoints, mounting of roadblocks, traffic checks, etc — with immediate effect,” Nigeria police chief Mohammed Adamu said on Sunday in a statement.
“Voices and complaints on the issues of unprofessional conducts by some SARS operatives have been heard very loudly and clearly,” the statement read.
Media personality Toke Makinwa was also among those who protested. “People are constantly calling my show with reports of harassment,” she said.
And now the government has said a special presidential directive has ordered the immediate dissolution of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (Sars) and all the officers in the squad will be redeployed and a new arrangement to replace the squad is being worked on.
Protests against the squad were sparked by a video of a man allegedly being killed by police.
President Muhammadu Buhari had earlier said he was determined to end police brutality, introduce reforms and bring “erring personnel… to justice”.
The protesters demanded the unit be disbanded rather than reformed because previous commitments to change the behaviour of the police had had no effect.