October 12, 2020: There is jubilation in Nigeria, as the people have for once taken the quest for justice into their own hands. The protests began several days ago with calls for an end to a special police unit accused of numerous violations of human rights, murder, torture, often in the act or process of robbing the victim. The now disbanded unit was called SARS, the anti-robbery force operating all over the country but primarily in Lagos, was at the center of the action, theft, extortion, and they meted out justice as they saw fit, generally in accordance with their own material interests.
Protesters taking over the international airport and important parts of major cities, are calling for a total police reform, as the protests mature, and given that some form of action has already been taken against this particular unit. Solidarity in the face of brutality is contagious and one sees triumph on the faces of the protesters, and determination. They are angry, want justice for the victims, and compensation for their families.
The protests have been met with repression, and there are reports of live ammunition being used by security authorities and an undetermined numbers of protesters have been shot dead. The protesters remain undeterred, however. According to Nigerian singer-songwriter Davvyd Moore, who joined the protests against SARS in Lagos, the protesters will not be deterred by repression or bought off by false promises and half-measures.
“It’s not going to stop us. That should be a motivation. Imagine a cause worth dying for. You see people dying, and you know people have died. And what we have started, if we don’t finish it, that’s very cowardly. We won’t step back — not for a second. We will keep pushing further until the government gives to us what we demand,” he said.