From End Sars to End Swat, Nigeria protests explained
It's been more than a week of protests against police brutality in Nigeria tens of thousands of Nigerians have taken to the streets where police officers have opened fire on demonstrators and arrested hundreds at least ten protesters have been killed so far. Protesters have been calling for police reform and specifically the end of a unit that has been accused of human rights abuses. The unit is called the specialize anti robbery squad. Or SARS over the weekend the President of Nigeria said the unit would be disbanded but demonstrators remain skeptical and are continuing to protest until all of their demands are met joining us now is the BBC's Nigeria correspondent, my any Jones from Lagos. Welcome to the show Miami High Tanzania. So we said that people are protesting this unit but what was was there something that set off the protests to begin with? So the process initially started on early in October when a visual appearance to should meet the appearing to show some young men being dragged by a sales offices out of a hotel. It's unclear when the video was taken, but it was shared very widely on social media in Nigeria and started a resurgence in a Hashtag the had been seen in the poss which was. The HASHTAG and saws. This hashtag first appeared thinking twenty eighteen and had been used a couple of times before when similar videos had been posted showing solves officers allegedly brutalizing members of the public but this time round it picked up a lot of speed and this movement. This youth led movement that seems quite organic has emerged from it what types of policing tactics Are. Residents are Nigerians protesting and who are SARS targeting generally. So, Nigerians have been protesting everything from extortion to torture to extrajudicial killings. I'd be see that's Members of Saul's particularly allowed to act with impunity. on targets often young members of the public who? hops occurring mobile phones laptop they accused him of Internet's cameras The also occasionally target people driving nice calls and particularly they young female asking them how they made their money and they say that these practices are completely unacceptable and that they're taking advantage of their position as plain clothes, policemen to extort people for money. And and carry tile carry a brutal acts of violence against members of the public. Now, we mentioned that the president of Nigeria has since said that he would disband this unit but protesters are still wanting demands to be met. What specific demands are they asking for Miami Su they have a number of demands had a half five key demands they want all protesters to be released. Divest full justice for victims of police brutality who've been killed and compensation for their family they want an independent body to overseen investigation into police misconduct They've also asked for a psychological evaluation and training of members of SAWS, and they want to increase salaries for policemen across the board. Protesters have been killed by law enforcement ten people we understand so far has there been any accountability or. Justice for those people. So that's one of the key reasons why protesters is still out on the street despite the dissolution of sauce for them the dissolution does not constitute any actual justice for victims and they said the fact that people have been killed these protests at no officer has been charged investigations being launched. Nothing appears to have been done to that the forties and not committed to reforming police in any. Substantive Way and they said, they'll keep coming out onto the streets until they see some actual chain beyond just rhetorical the government beyond promises of reforms that they say they've seen before they want to see officers charged they want to see changes puts into law and wants to be assured that police officers in Nigeria would no longer be allowed to act with impunity. Let's talk a little bit about who these protesters are. Are they largely young people? Are they women? Are they men? Who are we seeing? That's taking to the streets that's what's been very interesting about this latest wave of protests. It's just the shit -versity of people who've gotten involved. You have members of the Nigerian DASS per sending money from abroad from the U S from. From the UK, you have young middle class people who live in Nigeria who educated abroad who are lending their skills be it's legal skills medical skills kills in logistics and organizing, and then you have you know ordinary Nigerians perhaps who've lived here their whole lives who are often targeted by the police because they seem as as powerless with not. So well connected all these diverse groups are coming. To a these protests because they say that the violence committed by south under underway to police because this is also a protest about abuses of police in Nigeria a whole affect everyone.