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AN APPRAISAL OF THE ROLE OF ENDSARS IN POLITIC

INTRODUCTION

BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY

#EndSARS began as a call for the disbandment of Nigeria’s Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), a unit of the Nigerian Police Force known for its brutality and breaches of human rights. The hashtag was initially used in 2018 to draw awareness about reports of SARS officials’ violence and exploitation (End Swat, 2020). SARS’ structure was changed by the government, but claimed human rights breaches and exploitation continued. SARS personnel shot a youngster in the streets of Delta State without provocation in October 2020, according to social media accounts (Jacob Olatunji, 2019). Despite the fact that the Nigerian Police Department denied the shooting in this case, However, in light of the government’s earlier comments, this action was insufficient to pacify the demonstrators. Following repeated accusations of harassment, the Inspector General of Police (IGP) confirmed in December 2017 that SARS had been barred from conducting stop and search operations. The IGP re-announced the prohibition publicly in 2018 and 2020, citing the ineffectiveness of prior rulings. Similarly, Nigeria’s acting president declared in 2018 that SARS would be overhauled, with the National Human Rights Commission investigating incidents of abuse. This was quickly followed by the establishment of a centralized FSARS (Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad), which, unlike the previous iteration, would be overseen by the Inspector General of Police. Only a few weeks later, the IGP declared that FSARS would be disbanded, with the force returning to being decentralized and under the supervision of state commissioners (Samson Folarin, 2019). Protestors added to their list of demands, calling for recompense for victims of SARS brutality, retraining of police personnel, and trials of implicated SARS executives, in light of previous abuses and disappointments.

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