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For weeks now, massive demonstrations have continued across Nigeria and in expatriate Nigerian communities around the U.S. condemning police brutality.

Public outcry turned into protests after viral videos resurfaced and a new video emerged of officers from the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), a unit of the Nigerian federal police force, allegedly killing a man. #EndSars, as the unit is known, has become the internationally trending hashtag calling for the unit’s disbandment.

The Special Anti-Robbery Squad was formed in 1992 to tackle violent crimes in Lagos, Nigeria’s most popular city. The squad operated undercover without uniforms and names tags in order to successfully take on criminals. But as the unit grew, reports of abuse made it difficult for authorities to identify and report corrupt officers.

Amnesty International has documented more than 82 cases of abuse and killings by SARS officers from January 2017 to today.

On October 12, Nigerian President and former military dictator, Mughammadu Buhari, announced on Twitter that SARS would be disbanded, but Nigerians have continued to protest for total police reform, which includes:

  • The immediate release of all arrested protesters

  • Justice for those killed by police brutality and compensation for their families

  • An independent body to investigate and prosecute misconduct

  • Independent psychological assessments and new training for dismissed SARS officers who want redeployment

  • A pay raise for police so they are “adequately compensated for protecting lives and property of citizens”

These demands may sound familiar to American protesters demanding protection for Black lives against police in the United States. The message is also the same: a country that allows police to kill and abuse citizens without consequence is not a democracy.

The #BlackLivesMatter movement has reminded America that police brutality is a persistent problem in the United States. Because police brutality in America is an abuse of power most Americans attribute to institutional racism, Americans may struggle to understand #EndSars, a system of extortion and brutality within an institution where each citizen looks the same.

Nigerian Americans and expatriates around the United States are organizing stateside protests sharing why American support is important. On Saturday, October 17, #EndSars protests commenced in major cities, including Washington D.C. and Houston.

On October 12, Kanye West tweeted, “I stand with my Nigerian brothers and sisters to end police brutality, the government must answer to the peoples cries #EndPoliceBrutalityinNigeria”

Celebrities, including Diddy, Drake, Trey Songs and gospel artist Kirk Franklin, are a few of many United States citizens publicly calling for Americans to stand in solidarity with the all too familiar cause. All Black lives matter, and it’s important for Black Americans to understand that our fight is the same as Nigerians: a country that allows police to kill and abuse citizens without consequence is not a democracy.


For on the ground information about #EndSars, follow @yagazieemezi , @feminist.co, @djswitch_ and @ainigeria on Instagram.

For information on how to support within the United States, follow @opalayo and @diasporarising.