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Nigerian Youths Clamors For #ENDSARS On Twitter

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Nigerian youths took to Twitter and other social media platform to renew the #ENDSARS# campaign due to the death of a single father Kolapo Johnson 36, who was allegedly shot dead by one of the officers of the Lagos State division of the Anti-cultism squad on Sunday, March 31, 2019.

According to an eyewitness at the scene of the incident which happened around 5:05 pm at no 1  Beco Street Ontipetesi, Mangoro Bus stop, the victim a football fan was said to be at the viewing center with friends when members of the squad stormed the area to arrest a man because of his dreadlocks. The victim was said to be shot at the back by an officer who was trying to disperse a crowd gathered at the scene of the incident.

Members of the squad were said to flee from the scene immediately the incident happened which lead to a protest by a group of boys in the area causing major road blocks and gridlocks in the area.
Aggrieved youths lent their voices to Twitter to condemn the act, asking for justice from the government and also an end the operations of the Special Anti Robbery Squad [SARS] which they also accuse of bribery and harassment.

In a statement sent to the punch newspaper a youth Namtira Bwala, 26 said “we as a people cannot continue being scared of the people that are supposed to be our protectors. We are tired of protesting and marching to no end. We need adequate police reforms and SARS needs to go”.

A group Amnesty International said “our research since 2016 uncovered a pattern of ruthless human rights violation by SARS, whereby victims are arrested and brutally tortured until they either make a confession to pay officers a bribe to be released. SARS is a police unit created to protect the people, instead it has become a danger to the society, turning its victims with complete impunity while fomenting a climate of fear and corruption”

Segun Awosanya in a statement signed by a group of youths said “our lives-the lives of all citizens matter and we must continue to demand that the men and women of the police force respects the sanctity of life and the lives of all Nigerians. In light of the foregoing, we restate that all ad hic squads within the police force by scrapped and their responsibilities transferred to discernible structures within police force”.

Speaking to a youth Sunday Adesanya he said “to say the government should put an end to SARS is saying the government should put an end to their fight against robbers”
He added that the #ENDSARS# campaign is an exercise in futility and that the youth should rather campaign for the complete reform of the unit rather than the end of the unit.

“What we need to campaign about is for a complete overhaul of the SARS with properly stipulated guidelines of actions and sanctions for renegade officers and undisciplined ones. The motive behind the creation of the unit is pure to combat incessant robberies and to a certain point it has reduced robberies but unfortunately, the tables have been turned as SARS officers  are now out to hunt internet fraudsters, wrongly dressed youths, wealthy young youths, and youths with tattoos” he said.
Femi Ekisanya 22 said “SARS should definitely be ended due to the fact that they just harass people unnecessarily, they don’t want youth to drive exotic cars. They should rather face what they are created for instead of looking for innocent youths to harass and take bribe from”.

Taofeek Akanji 26, said “we all are clamoring for #ENDSARS# but we all know the truth which is that we need SARS to be reformed and not ended. The only issue I have with SARS is harassment and brutal killing of innocent citizens”.

It will be recalled that the campaign #ENDSARS# first broke out on twitter in 2017 and was the trending topic for weeks on all social platforms but the intervention of the then Acting President Professor Yemi Osinbajo who ordered for the dismantling of the unit and its reform which he said should be intelligence driven and restricted to the prevention and detection of armed robbery and kidnapping quieted the campaign in 2017.

In recent development, the spokesman to the commissioner of police in Lagos State, CP Zubairu Nuazu said the officers that were involved in the death of the Kolapo Johnson has been arrested  and that the commissioner of police promised to initiate far-reaching reforms to help repositioning the Anti-Cultism squad for effective service delivery, particularly in areas of respect for human rights and proficiency in the use of firearms.

writer: Rashidat Ashafa

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