SARS — an anti-robbery unit — has a long record of abuse and police brutality, and #EndSARS is the ensuing social movement that called for the dissolution of the squad. The hashtag — originally created in 2017 —sparked protests, but with the force still in existence, the movement resurged two weeks ago. On Oct. 11, the unit was disbanded, but the demonstrations continue to become increasingly violent as days goes by.
Per Newsweek, the Orile Iganmu Police station in Lagos State was set on fire on Tuesday (Oct. 20). In footage that surfaced the web, the sound of bullets could be heard. Ayo Micheal, the spokesperson of the Apapa-Iganmu Local Government Area, told Punch he’d heard two protesters were fatally shot at the police station after they reportedly resisted the officers who tried to detain them.
Nigerian cities Jos and Lagos and the states of Ekiti and Edo have since imposed curfews. The police in Lagos said that “all security agencies have deployed adequate personnel to take charge and enforce the curfew across the state.”
Lagos state Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu expressed his belief that people are hiding under the protests “to unleash mayhem on the State and wantonly disrupt citizens lives and property.”
“Imposing this curfew was difficult, especially as we have just returned from a Covid-19 required lockdown,” he tweeted. “This curfew will allow security officials to immediately restore order to the state, arrest thugs and miscreants that have disrupted the peace.”
Despite the curfew in place, some protesters refused to disperse, resulting in the shootings of unarmed people. Authorities have not confirmed any fatalities.
Kanye West, Drake and Nigerian superstars Davido, Wizkid and Burna Boy are a few of the celebrities that have backed the #EndSARS protests.