Gently lying underneath the uproar, arrogance and agitation – barely an inch below the angry, excited and aggressive surface – is the brokenness of Nigerian people. Both at home and in diaspora, the entire planet has almost become inhabitable for Nigerians and black people as a whole due to phenomena including racism, bad governance and this which got to number one on global Twitter’s list of trending issues – police brutality.
“…only for them to waste my son. There was no war, there was no fight, there was no riot,” lamented the father of a twenty year old boy who was killed by some policemen in Rivers state in a video that recently resurfaced on the internet. “…not that he was stealing or robbing. Just cold-bloodedly, they wasted this boy for me,” he said, this time with tears rolling down his eyes as he appealed to his God to avenge the unnecessary, gruesome death of his son
The (Federal) Special Anti-Robbery Squad (F-SARS) is a suspended unit of the Nigerian police force that is notoriously known for brutalising innocent Nigerians; especially the youth and any young person who showed some level of wealth or happened to posses gadgets like iPhones, expensive laptops and jewellery, designer clothes or a flashy car. There have been so many riots and protests recorded since 2016 by Nigerians who couldn’t bear the injustice and unjust killings of Nigeria’s future.
Apparently, the end of SARS is not the end of Nigeria’s problems. After each protest since 2016, the unit has been ‘disbanded’ officially, but the officers still went about, carrying their “normal” activities of oppressing young Nigerians. The same “disbanding” was announced by the Inspector General of Police on Sunday 11 October, but Nigerian youth do not seem to be having it this time. They have created a list of five things they demand from the federal government of Nigeria concerning police reform and foundations for a better Nigeria.
With fire in their eyes and an obviously very willing heart, Nigerians have refused to back down in this fight as peaceful protests are still being organized nationwide – regardless of the fact that some of the demonstrators have been killed by some members of the police by stray bullets. The hot water dispensed by the police on the protesters as a method of crowd control doesn’t seem to be quenching their hunger for a better nation.
The end of SARS might not be the end of corruption and bad governance in the federation, but the unity and togetherness expressed by the protesters (mostly millennials and Gen Z-ers) is capable of redeeming Africa and the entire world from its ills.
Yet, SARS must go.
Itty Okim is a Nigerian entertainment writer and Gen Z socio-cultural promoter. He lives in Lagos and eats PR for breakfast, lunch and dinner. He goes by @ittyokim on all social media platforms.