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#EndSARS: A Little History and More

4 mins read

By Silas Jonathan 

Recently, the hashtag #EndSARS, #EndSWAT and others – calling for an end to police brutality in Nigeria – became a top trend on Twitter and other social media platforms, eliciting diverse discourses from people within and outside the country.

The campaign #EndSARS first emerged in 2018, but resurfaced once more a week ago, attracting an upsurge of support from most Nigerians, majority of whom were youths. As a result, the streets of major cities in the country were crowded with a number of peaceful protesters flaunting the notice #ENDSARS.

The #EndSARS campaign has attracted massive reactions from significant people and organizations all over the world, demanding an end to a unit in the Nigerian Police Force called the Special Anti-Robbery Squad, simply abbreviated as SARS. The unit was set up by the police in 1992 by CP Simeon Danladi Midenda with the sole responsibility of carrying out special undercover anti-robbery assignments without wearing a police uniform or badge. 

This task, mandated for the SARS to discharge, was in line with the duty of the Nigerian Police Force, as set out in Nigerian Police Force Act 2004, to secure lives and properties, prevent and detect crime, and apprehend offenders. The same Law also allows the police to detain and search any suspected person in possession of anything stolen or unlawfully obtained which the SARS operatives are primarily assigned to carry out.   

However, the SARS operatives have come under serious criticism from Nigerians and human rights organizations for committing crimes such as unlawful arrest, extrajudicial killing, torture, and extortion in the guise of preventing internet fraud.

An analysis by  Amnesty International in 2016 showed that youths are more affected by SARS operations. This assessment recently…Read more


FACT CHECKS OF THE WEEK 

The Deputy National Publicity Secretary of the APC, Yekini Nabena, Tweeted that the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) was created by the People’s Democratic Party (PDP). How true is this claim? 

A picture shared on Twitter, which shows about nine bodies lined up on the floor, suggest that they were victims of the police brutality in Oyo State. 

Nigeria’s Former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, has issued a statement critiquing the 2021 Budget Proposal. The statement which was posted on the former vice president’s social media pages has since gone viral. In the statement… 


QandA

  • When was the Special Anti-Robbery Squad of the Nigerian Police Force founded?

A report by Vanguard traced the creation of SARS to 1992 during the General Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida military junta. A retired Commissioner of Police, Simeon Midenda, who was quoted in the December 23, 2017 report said the unit was created through his effort in 1992.

  • Is the 2021 Nigerian budget approved by the National Assembly yet?

No, it’s not yet approved.  The budget passed the second reading at the Senate on Wednesday. The passage of the budget comes after three days of deliberation at the upper chamber. More than half of the lawmakers gave their contributions on the floor of the Senate during the debate. While many senators faulted the projections of the budget, especially having to borrow to fund the budget, others commended the executive for its plan on economic recovery.

  • Did Buhari say Nigerians should brace up for another recession?

Yes, he recently  said so. President Muhammadu Buhari said, last week, that the country is heading for another recession, the second in four years. The President made the remarks while presenting the 2021 budget proposal to the National Assembly – “GDP growth is expected to be negative in the third quarter of this year. As such, our economy may lapse into the second recession in four years, with significant adverse consequences.” Find more details…


What can you do? 

Be alert, share our tips and don’t share false news! 


Coronavirus infection count 

Note: Total cases may be more than officially stated owing to the inability to include unconfirmed cases. Stay safe,


Tip of the week 

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#FakeNews Alert 

Some accounts on Twitter recently shared a picture of at least nine dead bodies lined side by side, suggesting that they were killed during ongoing protests that have called for reforms in the Nigeria Police. “Ogbomoso is Black. RIP to everyone we lost to the struggle,” tweeted @Cheyih_Viktah on Sunday, October 11, attaching the photograph. This turned out to be false. 

SOURCE: TWITTER USERS

Major social events are most often breeding grounds for false news.  The #EndSARs protest is not an exception. Beware of misleading pictures, narratives that lack sources and outrageous claims. Check for facts and inquire about anything and everything you see.  

  • A user on twitter, tweeted “I just heard according to UN Constitution any protests that reaches 30days will make UN intervene in that country. The Nigeria Govt knows this. Many young people don’t know it. EXCEPT the govt makes visible tangible immediate changes, #EndSARS protests MUST GO ON. Tell others.”

SOURCE: TWITTER USERS

This  information while good-intentioned is rather misleading.  The UN has no ‘constitution’. The closest to it is the UN Charter and it is not written anywhere in this Charter that the UN will intervene in a country on account of protests. Consume information about the protest with objectivity and prudence. Try to discern the intent of the source as there will likely be an influx of misinformation from the ongoing #EndSARS protest. 


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