END SARS MOVEMENT is a transformative Human Rights Movement that started back in October 2020. What started as a local project in Nigeria, quickly grew to encompass Nigerians globally from the outside. Together with our allies and partners, END SARS MOVEMENT engages and mobilizes activists and leaders from all backgrounds and walks of life.
The Story of End SARS
The Birth of #EndSARS
The word #EndSARS first dates back to 2017, where Nigerian youths used the hashtag on social media to share their experiences with violence and assault perpetrated by the defunct Special Anti-Robbery Squad. However, it became a fully revived movement only in early October 2020, after a video emerged of police officers of the SARS unit, allegedly killing an unarmed young man in Ughelli, Delta State. Before this time, the Take It Back & #RevolutionNow movement led by Omoyele Sowore had declared a protest which was already ongoing though sparsely in Abuja and Lagos, just a few days to Nigeria`s 60th Independence Day celebration of 1st October 2020.
This supposed killing in Delta state prompted Nigerian youths to troop to Twitter, calling on the Federal Government for police reform with the hashtag, #EndSARS, #Endpolicebrutality, and many more. The hashtag trended continuously on Twitter as Nigerian youths aired their pain and experiences online.
3rd October, 2020
A viral message broadcast on social media suggested men of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad SARS had gunned down a Nigerian youth in Ughelli Delta State, snatched his car, and sped off with it. The person who recorded the video can be heard making frantic yells at anyone watching the video to see what had transpired.
As the video spread on Social media, the hashtag #ENDSARS started to garner momentum as more young people demanded an end to the brutal police unit that has for years brutalized young Nigerians.
As twitter raged on, reports indicate SARS officials stopped the young man, pushed him out of his vehicle, shot him, and went away with the vehicle.
As the video spread, several other young Nigerians, particularly those from the tech community recalled their experience and started lamenting on Twitter, escalating into a fury of outburst that eventually morphed into one of the largest youth-organized protests in the history of Nigeria.
4th October 2020
As Social media protest raged on, Nigeria’s Minister for State for Labour, Festus Keyamo revealed the young man was not dead and shared a picture of him in a hospital with head wounds. The Nigerian Police Force, through the Inspector General of Police, announced the ban of SARS members and other Tactical Squads from carrying out routine patrols and other conventional low-risk duties, stop and search duties, checkpoints, mounting of roadblocks, traffic checks, etc with immediate effect. Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo disclosed that President Muhammadu Buhari wants to see reforms in the Nigerian Police Force.“We reviewed several of these issues. The President and I have had discussions on
this, he is very concerned about it. He wants to see reforms.”
House of Rep member, Honourable Akin Alabi filed a motion with the House of Reps to dissolve the Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad (FSARS). Alabi who represents the Ona-Ara/Egbeda Federal constituency of Oyo State disclosed his intentions to dissolve the Unit today and the issue is set to be discussed during the plenary session this week.
7th October, 2020
Youths in Lagos State set out for a three-day protest to call for the disbandment of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) unit of the Nigeria Police Force, as part of the push for reforms in the police system to put an end to the extra-judicial activities of the agency. Youths were seen marching to the Force Headquarters at Ikeja, carrying placards with various inscriptions such as “Protect, not exploit”, “Nigeria police stop killing us,” amongst other printed messages.
This was the start of a 14-day protest that eventually turned violent and hijacked by hoodlums. The Speaker of the House of Reps, Femi Gbajabiamila says that the House will draft new legislation to establish a system of accountability for the Nigerian police.
8th October, 2020
Nigerian musicians join protests showing their support for the calls to #ENDSARS.
Nigerian artists such as Tiwa Savage, Runtown, Falz, World, and DJ Spinal were amongst the first to join the protest carrying placards that said: “No to SARS”.
Meanwhile, The Inspector General of Police (IGP), Mohammed Adamu, warned against attacks on law enforcement officers by the END SARS protesters following the reported murder of one policeman, injury to another, and alleged stealing of arms and ammunition by the protesters.
9th October, 2020
The Nigerian Bar Association condemn the serial breaches of the fundamental rights of Nigerians by officers of the Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad (FSARS) and urged that the Police put in place demonstratable measures to ensure proper enforcement and monitoring of the new directives. Former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar says he condemns any use of force on #EndSARS protesters across the nation and urges the FG to listen to the youth and investigate the use of force on protesters. Lagos State through its Gbenga Omotoso, Commissioner for Information and Strategy said it has noted the protests against the brutality of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) and says it agrees that such
acts of brutality must stop.
The management of Flutterwave Inc. announced the opening of a public fund aimed at catering for the medical bills of those injured during the protest against the brutality of officers of the Federal Anti-Robbery Squad.
President Buhari through his Twitter handle revealed he had ordered the Inspector General of Police to address Nigerians appealing for calm and patience. “The IG already has my firm instructions to conclusively address the concerns of Nigerians regarding these excesses, & ensure erring personnel are brought to justice. I appeal for patience & calm, even as Nigerians freely exercise their right to peacefully make their views known.