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EndSARS Protest Against In Lagos

Source: NurPhoto / Getty

Protests against police brutality in Nigeria have caused the West African country to dissolve the special police force at the center of the protests. The government announced that a special presidential directive ordered the immediate dissolution of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS).

These protests against the squad were sparked by a video of a man allegedly being killed by the police. Since the demonstrations began, they have only intensified and have since spread outside the country.

All of the officers in the Special Anti-Robbery Squad–who have been widely accused of unlawful arrests, torture, and even murder–are to be redeployed, and according to the president, a new arrangement to replace the squad is currently being worked on. At the same time, Nigeria’s chief of police said a team of investigators would be set up to investigate the alleged abuses by the squad.

Protesters demanded the unit be disbanded, rather than just reformed, because previous commitments to change police behavior had had no effect on their actions. President Muhammadu Buhari said earlier that he was determined to end police brutality, introduce reforms, and bring “erring personnel… to justice”.

While the closure of the Special Anti Robbery Squad is seemingly exactly what protestors wanted, there are still concerns within the country.  The dissolution of SARS comes with the specification that officers from the controversial police unit will be redeployed.

Although the protests started off as a call to disband SARS, specifically, it has expanded to include the wider Nigerian police force–so simply disbanding that one unit will not be enough.

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