While some people are unaware, today is the ninth day of the protest calls by young Nigerians against police brutality and the need for the disbandment of the special police force unit : Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS).
The root of the harassment of innocent citizens by SARS can be traced to the constant profiling of the younger generation by the older generation. 9 out of 10 times, any young person that is seen to have dreadlocks, tattoos, possessing expensive gadgets or driving a flashy car is automatically presumed to be involved in illegal activities, and as such this is the same generation who are employed as SARS officers.
Since the movement took off on twitter, Nigeria has witnessed a united front against the impunity of SARS and their atrocities against the average Nigerian youth. Largely described as “keypad generation” or “phone generation”, Nigerian youths have proven to be more than just that.
Coming out in large numbers and taking to the streets daily in different states all over the country, it was only a matter of time before the government began to listen to the voice of the youth. In response, SARS was dissolved but a new unit SWAT was setup to replace SARS. The protests have however not been toned down, with protesters arguing that SARS hasn’t been dissolved, but rather merely renamed.
The importance of youths in the nation cannot be undermined, with roughly 63% of the country’s population being below 30 years of age. If there was ever a time for the country to take a step in the right direction, that time is now. The dissolution of SARS is a step, with many more steps to be taken, with some of them highlighted in the #5FOR5 agenda.
Nigeria has been described as the giant of Africa, and she’s finally proving it, thanks to the youths of the nation. The question “when will Nigeria change?” has always been one without an answer, perhaps the answer is, “NOW”.