From SARS To SWAT: Nigerian Youths Say #ENDSWAT!

News broke out yesterday that the”disbanded” Special Anti Robbery Squad will be redeployed to another unit known as SWAT – Special Weapon and Tactics Unit. Same people, different name and we’re now on an #ENDSWAT protest but before we get into that, let’s catch up on happenings so far.

Day before yesterday, a thread surfaced on Twitter from the Governor of Rivers state, Ezenwo Nyesom Wike, threatening the citizens of the state that they would be met with brutal force if they dared step out for a peaceful protest as the IGP supposedly already “disbanded” SARS.

#ENDSWAT

It was another story, however, when thousands of Rivers state residents came out for a peaceful protest, after replying the state governor and the police force that if they dared interrupt, it would be anarchy. It was a joyous day for online and offline protesters when Rivers state recorded no violence but a massive peaceful protest across the state.

#ENDSWAT

On an offside, the Central Bank of Nigeria summoned Flutterwave, an organization that was helping to manage and raise funds for protesters across the country. Apparently, CBN deemed the protesters as “terrorists” and invalidated the link for crowdfunding by Flutterwave. Twitter went into an uproar at this act by the financial institutions governing body and quickly found an alternative route to continue to soyrce funds.

#ENDSWAT

Protests continued in various parts of the country like Kaduna, Akwa-Ibom, Abuja, Ibadan, Osun, Ogun, Lagos, Benin and Benue. Abuja protesters were met with violent resistance from the military, videos surfaced where soldiers were kicking and brutalizing peaceful unarmed protesters and for no justifiable reason. Gunshots were fired at protesters in Benin City, albeit how peaceful they were. The Government keeps showing how little the citizens that elected them mean to them with the reactions from the their puppets – the Nigerian Police Force.

A broadcast went out later yesterday that the SARS unit that has been “disbanded” will be reassigned to another unit known as Special Weapons and Tactics – SWAT. This veers totally off point as the government or IGP apparently wants to redeploy the same people with no training and regard for ethics into a unit to supposedly fight crime?

Agitations and another uproar were in order as protesters quickly changed the tag of protests from #ENDSARS to #ENDSWAT. In case the government does not seem to comprehend the needs of the people, they’re saying they don’t want these untrained and unlawful individuals in the police force. We wait for more updates from the IGP or President (highly unlikely) on the new development and until we get something concrete, we say #ENDSWAT. For an update on Surulere protest and the shot officer, read here.

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