One Year After The EndSARS Protest, Its Shadows Remain
One year after protesters were gunned down in Nigeria, there have been few concrete changes but continuing civil discontent.
October 20, 2021 at 5:45 pm
One year ago, Nigerians took to the streets to call for the disbandment of the country’s Special Anti-Robbery Squad, or SARS.
The supposedly elite unit within the national Nigerian police force had become a veritable armed gang, targeting young Nigerians and their families with violence, kidnapping, extortion and other forms of abuses. Protests grew across Nigeria and internationally among Nigerians abroad and those showing solidarity in the streets and on social media.
Even after the SARS unit was formally disbanded, EndSARS grew into a larger campaign against police brutality and corruption in Nigeria more generally. Politicians and government officials vacillated between responding to protesters' demands, repressing demonstrations and downplaying the significance of widespread discontent. These tactics came to a head on Oct. 20, 2020, when a still-unknown number of peaceful demonstrators were shot and killed by government forces at the Lekki Toll Gate in Lagos, the country’s largest city and commercial capital.