Nigeria to disband Sars police unit accused of killings and brutality
|Emmanuel Akinwotu 12/10/2020|
Announcement comes after growing protests, but critics say it does not go far enough.
Nigeria’s government has dissolved an infamous police unit plagued with allegations of extrajudicial killings and abuse after days of protests against police brutality.
A wave of outrage had been fuelled over the last week by the emergence online of graphic footage and shared experiences of abuses by the Special Anti-Robbery Squad, commonly called Sars.
“EndSars” began as a largely online movement, trending internationally on social media and gaining the support of figures including the footballer Marcus Rashford and the actor John Boyega. Many of those marching in Lagos and cities across Nigeria have been in their 20s and 30s, protesting for the first time and spurred by personal experiences of or connections with abuses by the security forces.
“The Special Anti-Robbery Squad (Sars) of the Nigeria Police Force has been dissolved with immediate effect,” a statement by the office of the president, Muhammadu Buhari, said on Sunday.
Insp Gen Mohammed Adamu, who had previously dismissed the prospect of the unit being disbanded, also announced new measures “in response to the yearnings of the Nigerian people”. Sars officers would be redeployed to other units, he said, and a “new policing arrangement” to replace it would soon be announced.