An online campaign against police brutality has gone viral in Nigeria.
The hashtag #EndSARS started trending over the weekend after a post claiming a young man was shot by the police’s Special Anti-Robbery Squad, known as Sars.
On Saturday, a user with the handle @YabaKid claimed to have seen officers from the Special Anti-Robbery Squad shoot a boy in the head in front of him.
A SARS officer just shot a boy in the Head right in front of me WTFFFFFFFFFFFFF!!!! I’m so SHOOK!!!!!
The user had been tweeting with the hashtag #EndSARS for many months but in the past few days thousands of others have responded with their own stories of police brutality.
Many claimed to have been held at gunpoint, arrested without charge, forced to pay bribes and even shot by officers from the unit.
Well-known musician Simi claimed she and a group of friends were held at gunpoint by Sars officers for – as she put it – “laughing”.
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.
Thousands of Twitter users are now calling for the unit to be disbanded.
In response to the campaign, the inspector general of police said he’s ordered a complete re-organisation of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad.
He also called for “instant investigation” into all the allegations and complaints levelled against the unit.