Summary of the situation in Nigeria
The movement began on 3 October 2020, after a young man was the victim of violence by SARS (Special Anti-Robbery Squat) in Ughelli. The SARS is a unit created by the Nigerian government in 1992 to protect the country from armed robberies. But since its creation, this unit has been strongly criticised for the fact that agents have threatened citizens to extort funds and have committed numerous unjustified physical and moral violence.  This new incident is the straw that breaks the camel’s back. The rebels in Niger are demanding the dissolution of SARS, an independent body in charge of judging the possible acts of violence by the police and, more generally, fight against police brutality. On social networks, the movement is recognizable by the hashtag #ENDSARS (28 million tweets in 2 days from 9 to 11 October). The movement spread rapidly throughout the country and demonstrations took place in several major cities. New incidents involving SARS have surfaced, including the death of a citizen on October 10, which has the effect of amplifying the movement. Huge demonstrations are taking place in the country’s largest city, Lagos.  Roads and various infrastructures are blocked by the demonstrators.  On 13 October, the governor of the Delta State tried to calm the situation with a speech of tolerance towards the demonstrators. But these beautiful words are contradicted by the events of October 20 : SARS massacre of protesters blocking Lekki toll in Lagos. Amnesty International deplores at least 12 deaths. The day after this bloody repression, many buildings were set on fire. The movement came to a halt shortly afterwards, as the organizers felt that the loss of life among the demonstrators was too great.  SARS is not abolished but reformed and is now called SWAT (Special Weapons And Tactics Team). The government will not immediately acknowledge its responsibility in the death of the 18 demonstrators of the movement in two weeks (march and pacifist blockade). 

The Nigerian diaspora organizes demonstrations of support in several western countries, such as London, Dublin, New York or Canada. Famous personalities, political or not (Rihanna, Joe Biden, Kanye West…) have expressed their opinion on this movement of revolt and condemn the attitude of the Nigerian government towards the SARS and the demonstrations, which has the effect of raising the international community’s awareness of the situation in Niger.

Deaths : 56

Last update : 02/10/2021