Canada: Nigerians in Toronto, Canada join #EndSarsNow protest in hundreds.
Nigerians in Canada join the #EndSarsNow in Toronto. The event was held in Dundas Square and Nathan Philip square. Nollywood celebrities and movie producers were among the attendees.
The Nigerian government said it would bow to the demands of Nigerians protesting police abuses, but skeptical protesters vowed to keep the pressure on.
With protests breaking out across Nigeria and in expatriate Nigerian communities around the world, the country’s president vowed to a skeptical public on Monday that he would crack down on rogue police officers accused of brutalizing citizens.
President Muhammadu Buhari’s promise came a day after his government announced that it would dismantle a widely feared police unit known as SARS, for Special Anti-Robbery Squad.
“The disbanding of SARS is only the first step in our commitment to extensive police reforms,” Mr. Buhari said in a televised statement, speaking out for the first time since protests started last week. “We will also ensure that all those responsible for misconduct are brought to justice.”
To many, Mr. Buhari’s response was too little, too late, and they predicted it would do little to placate the angry young Nigerians who have been blocking major routes in cities across the country to protest the police unit.
The Special Anti-Robbery Squad was created in 1992 and charged with tackling the problem of violent crime in Lagos. It operated as a faceless, 15-member team that traveled in two unmarked buses, its officers often wearing neither uniforms nor name tags.
The anonymity was considered vital for taking on the gangs that openly terrorized Lagos at the time. But as the police unit grew, establishing itself throughout the country, its faceless nature opened the door to abuse, making it difficult to identify and report rogue officers and emboldening them to act with impunity, critics say.
The SARS unit has been accused of targeting young people who appear well-dressed, shaking them down for money, and torturing and abusing and even killing those who resist. Amnesty International says it documented more than 82 cases of abuse and extrajudicial killings by SARS officers from January 2017 to this May.
Editors’ PicksMany of the victims were between 18 and 35, the human rights group said. Nearly half of Nigeria’s population of 182 million population is below age 30, one of the world’s largest concentrations of young people.
The government has claimed before that it planned to shut down the unit, but its officers are still on the streets.