For the better part of a week now, many of Nigeria’s youths across the entire country have admirably united under one cause- the #Endsars movement.
#Endsars has become a nationwide protest and a global conversation, and its severity is something that even the Nigerian government cannot, as it habitually does, ignore.
However, amidst the noise, one message remains core and its objective unequivocal- which is the call to end SARS. The youths do not want a reform of any sort; they do not even want rehabilitation for these men; they simply want them gone. They also want officers found culpable of excessive violence, tried. Their wishes were made clear when the protests intensified after the Inspector General of Police, Muhammed Adamu, announced the disbanding of SARS.
To the youths, the stipulation surrounding the IGP’s ‘ban’ simply wasn’t good enough. The directive came with a specification that the officers from the controversial police unit will be redeployed, and the ‘SARS’ unit would be replaced with another. A case of painting a lion white and expecting it to turn it into a sitting duck? The protesters were not having it. The point of ending SARS seemed lost on the IGP, and the message had to be reiterated with the protester’s counteroffer aptly dubbed #5for5.
The #5for5 list of demands includes ending SARS completely, releasing detained protesters, providing justice and compensation for SARS victims, accountability for violent police misconduct during the protests, and an increase of police salary.
However, the IGP again seemed determined to disregard these demands. Following the announcement to disband SARS, the IGP came up with an that still reeks of incompetence. An idea that still suggests a SARS reform.
His new bright idea proposes that men of SARS should be re-educated and reintroduced into society under the special weapons and Tactics unit (SWAT). An idea which still fails to address the true grievances of the Nigerian youths. The SWAT program focuses on rehabilitating the men of an already violent and notorious unit in a time period too short to yield any real results.
Furthermore, the IGP’s proposed plan doesn’t say anything about the unit’s jurisdiction, which makes people confident that SWAT is just a rebranded SARS.
Even if I change my name to Bill Gates I still won't be the richest man alive. Stop whining citizens.
— ⚘Iykesama 🇳🇬 (@itz___iyk) October 13, 2020
Nigerians, reject SWAT. SWAT is just a replacement of SARS. Now is the time to move for the removal of the IGP.#SarsMustGoNow
— Tope Akinyode (@TopeAkinyode) October 13, 2020
The IGP has since failed to address the five demands, making protesters even more adamant on intensifying the #Endsars movement. His SWAT idea, not even a day old, is already being called to end.
God bless the hand that rt 🙏 pic.twitter.com/5jlzqY1KAq
— #ENDSWAT #YDP🇳🇬✊🏽 (@horlashkid) October 14, 2020
It seems the police department and the Nigerian government are struggling with hearing the demands of the people. No degree of reform, no matter how pleasantly embellished, will be accepted.
The grievances are clear, and the message simple- #Endsars. Nigerian Youths are now too sceptical about any idea of ‘reforming’ SARS, seeing as attempts to reform in the past have consistently failed, yielding even worse results.