Following an endless wave of #EndSARS protests on social media and the streets of Nigeria, the Inspector General of Police IGP Mohammed Adamu has dissolved the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) across all states in the country and the Federal Capital Territory.
This was announced in an official statement posted on twitter today.
According to the statement, all SARS operatives will be reassigned within the Nigeria Police force and a new anti-robbery squad unit will be established. The statement highlights that an investigation team will be formed to address reports of crimes against Nigerians and duly penalise culprits.
#EndSARS has been the Number 1 trending topic on Twitter worldwide for the past three days, amassing nearly 5 million tweets. It was followed by supporting hashtags like #EndSARSNow, #EndPoliceBrutality and #BuhariResign.
Nigerians Reject SARS Disbandment in Renewed ‘Executive Order’ Campaign
But Nigerians have rejected the IGP’s disbandment of the SARS. In a renewed campaign, young Nigerians took to social media to remind the government that many dissolutions have been announced in the past but they never really changed anything. According to the protests, only an executive order would suffice.
“We want an executive order, a legislative action and a judicial panel of enquiry set up to prosecute those rogues. Nothing more, nothing less,” popular music star, Davido demanded.
Popular Pentecostal pastor, Apostle Johnson Suleman also lent his voice to the movement, insisting the IGP’s announcement isn’t enough and only an executive order would suffice.
A lot of Nigerians rejecting the IGP’s disbandment also base their rejection on the five points addressed by the IGP. A thorough scrutiny of the 5 points to note shows that number 2 and 3 sounds pretty much like previous dissolutions. Number 2 for instance, states that “All officers and men serving in the unit will be redeployed to other police commands, formations and units.”
Number 3 states that “A new policing arrangement for tackling the offences of armed robbery and other violent crimes will be unveiled to the public soon.” What these mean is that the men of the SARS would be retained in the force and probably formed into a new unit for fighting the same crimes.
This, in essence, made many people conclude the disbandment was nothing but audio disbandment and resolve to continue with their protests.
Abuja Police Shoot, Tear-gas Protesters Despite IGP Order
As if to confirm protesters’ suspicion that the dissolution as announced was nothing but lip service, #EndSARS protesters in Nigeria’s capital city of Abuja were reportedly shot at and tear-gassed by officers of the Police force shortly after the announcement.
Savvy Rinu, who led #EndSARS protests together with Debo Adebayo (MrMacaroni) in Lagos state, mentioned on twitter that Policemen were firing gunshots at protesters in Abuja. One twitter user alleged that a protester was killed in the process while reports claim some protesters were arrested and unlawfully detained.
Other people shared videos with the sound of gunshots as well as tear gas being sprayed on Abuja protesters by Police officers.
This has irked many Nigerians, prompting them to increase their call for an executive order from President Buhari regarding the disbandment of SARS. It is very alarming that such assault on peaceful protests is happening right at the seat of the Federal Government following the recent announcement.
100,000 People Unfollow Buhari As #EndSARS Garners Over 5 million Tweets
In the wake of #EndSARS protests, over 100,000 people have unfollowed President Muhammadu Buhari on twitter. The President’s number of followers now stand at 3.4 million, 100,000 less than before
The unfollow movement was started by Reno Omokri who demanded that Nigerians unfollow the President for his continued silence on the #EndSARS campaign. He stated that it was a way of getting the President to address Nigerians on the matter.
After trending at number 1 three days in a row, the #EndSARS hashtag on twitter has garnered over 5 million tweets since it began last week. Apart from Nigerians, international personalities including footballers and musicians joined the campaign.
Chelsea Players, Chance the Rapper, Others Join #EndSARS Campaign
Chelsea players, Tammy Abraham and Antonio Rudiger tweeted in support of the #EndSARS movement by Nigerians online. Rudiger described the situation as sad and called for peace.
American rapper, Chance the Rapper also posted a tweet to lend his voice to the #EndSARS protests.
Grammy award winner, Estelle as well as Trey Songz, Big Sean and English social activist, Adam Bradford also joined in the #EndSARS protests on twitter.
While some Nigerians seem appeased by the SARS disbandment directive, many are calling for an executive order from President Muhammadu Buhari amid reports and videos showing Policemen still intimidating, injuring and reportedly killing #EndSARS protesters in Abuja and Ogbomosho despite the latest announcement.
Although the Nigeria Police Force through the IGP dissolved SARS effective today, Nigerians appear unshaken in their resolve to continue #EndSARS protests until the systemic nuisance that is Police brutality is brought to an end in the country. And social media remains their most powerful tool in driving this change.
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