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COMPILED: Rape, violence, murder… the many sins of SARS

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For days, Twitter has been agog with an online protest against the “unethical and unprofessional conduct” of men of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) of the Nigerian Police Force.

The hashtag ‘#ENDSARS’, championed by popular Twitter user Sega Awosanya, has been trending on the social media for days, many narrating their ugly and sometimes near-death experiences at the hands of SARS officials.

They seemed to be endorsing the claims, in October, of Nyesom Wike, Governor of Rivers State, that SARS operatives were responsible for many cases of the armed robbery, kidnapping and murder in the state.

Though the allegation was denied by Ibrahim Idris, the Inspector General of Police, cases abound where ordinary citizens had been manhandled by men of the SARS.

“People are not supposed to be afraid of the people that are supposed to be looking after us. A couple weeks ago, at almost midnight, my friends and I had a gun pointed at us for laughing. For laughing. ,” wrote Simisola Ogunleye, a music superstar popularly known as Simi.

The #ENDSARS campaign started after a Twitter user narrated how a young man in his neighbourhood was gunned down on Thursday by SARS operatives.

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But Abayomi Sogunle, an Assistant Commissioner of Police in charge of the Police Complaints Rapid Response Unit at the Force Headquarters in Abuja, waved the complaints aside, describing the complainant as a dreamer.

“To all those having frightening dreams- “shot/beaten by police”. Pray to God not to allow it happen + avoid areas where police are responding to incidents in real life. If such dreams persist, GO SEE A PSYCHIATRIST. We only deal with real life police complaints @PoliceNG_PCRRU,” Shogunle wrote.

But what followed was barrage of criticisms and similar narratives of SARS highhandedness on civilians.

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Folarin Falana, the superstar son of Femi Falana, Senior Advocate of Nigeria, wrote “The entire police force needs some serious revamp. SARS are particular notorious for brutal attacks on innocent youth. The police is not our friend .”

Another musician popularly known as African China posted a video of a SARS operative pointing a gun at him and threatening to shoot him.

 

See a compilation of the anti-SARS tweets below:

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