Protesters against SARS demand end in police brutality

The virtual campaign against alleged ill practices of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) gathered more momentum on Wednesday as protesters took to Lagos streets against the unit.

Despite the heavy downpour witnessed in the early hours of Wednesday morning and the gridlock that followed in parts of the state, aggrieved youths in their hundreds stormed the Police Command Headquarters, Ikeja with placards demanding an end to the menaces of SARS.

Tagged “Three-days protest calling for the outright disbandment of SARS”, the protesters bore placards with inscriptions like “Am I the next to die?”; “Stop police brutality”; “Why shoot bullets at us?”; “I am not a criminal #EndSARS”; “Our lives matter”; “Stop criminalizing innocent citizens” and “stop extorting and killing us.”

From their convergence point at Ikeja under Bridge opposite Computer Village, they marched and danced to the Police Command Headquarters where they presented a signed register by participants outlining their pains in the hands of SARS.

They demanded that the names of all officers who have been found culpable to be made public and subjected to transparent prosecution.

The protesters also charged authorities to ensure justice and compensation for all victims who have suffered injustice in the past whether dead or alive.

They called for a public inquiry on past activities of the unit, adding all SARS detention centers must be made open for independent investigators to assess them, lamenting that some persons have been held in custody for four years and more just because they were standing in front of their homes or running errands.

According to them, the police hierarchy must ensure all unjust harassment and extortion of youth by cops are brought to an end.

Also, the protesters said policemen on duty must have their name tags depicting their units as well, appealing to the police to outlaw the norm of gun-toting policemen dressed in civilian wears in unmarked vehicles while on duty.

In the long term, they suggested that the police hierarchy should apply the digital medium for tracking such cases.

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