Police brutality in a different light and country
Although distance can be discouraging, human rights violations anywhere in the world should be called out and stopped. The increasing discrimination within the Nigerian police system is especially awful due to the actions taken against specific targets.
Amnesty International reported “82 cases of SARS abuses over the past three years, including beatings, hangings, mock executions, sexual assault and waterboarding,” Danielle Paquette from The Washington Post detailed. However, the Special Anti-Robbery Squad, or SARS, has been in action and harassing innocents for almost three decades without any account for unreported incidents.
Protests in Nigeria have been in regular action along with the #EndSARS movement since 2017, yet reform for the police unit has been in question since 2006. This empty-handed promise has been proven fruitless with countless attacks on protests as recent as the Lagos protest on October 11, 2020, with journalist and activist Gimba Kakanda present to experience it.
Kakanda described that, “I was saying my last prayers. I really thought my life was going to end,” to Time magazine about the attack.
He and a friend were ambushed and beaten for attending a peaceful protest in Abuja, Nigeria. Kakanda had posted a location update to Twitter from the protest area, which is believed to have aided pinpoint the location of him and other victims. This tie to social media is telling as SARS tends to go after individuals assumed of being LGBT+, and wealthy looking people with expensive looking clothes or items such as iPhones.
“Your voice has been heard loud and clear, and we are responding,” Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari released.
However, some are skeptical, as they believe that past failed “plans” have laid proof to no change in police reform.
So… now what? Be aware and be respectful. While this is not happening in this country, share resources and information and donate if possible. Police brutality and human rights violations, no matter where it happens, must be stopped. Just as important, listen to others’ experiences and support fellow humans.