Nigeria has been agog for the past few days when concerned youths of the country took to the road to protest police brutality. The Special Anti-Robbery Squad, popularly known as SARS was meant to be a special team in the Nigerian Police formed to tackle robbery and criminal cases. Unfortunately, this team of police officers had been known for harassing people, especially, the young. Not just harassment, they brutalized and killed a high number of people and they seemed to do all that without being charged.
The Nigerian government, just after a few days into the protest, requested that the Inspector General of the Police disband the SARS. As if that was not enough, a couple of days later, another team was formed, the Special Weapons and Tactics Team (SWAT). If this new team has been allowed to kick off, that would have been the fourth time of recent that the supposed anti-robbery team has been renamed. Just as the youth are saying, the name can always change, but the people never change.
It has been two weeks since the protest began and the sought answers seem not to have been met as the police, instead of ensuring order at the protests, have killed people even as the protests in several places, have been peaceful. To many, that police are still brutalizing people even in the heat of the protest further validates the concerns of the young protesters that the change of name was just another plot to bamboozle the people. One of the major requests, aside from total police reform is that justice is sought for those unjustly brutalized and killed by the police.