Nigerian youth have been on the streets for nearly two weeks, shutting main roads across towns in one of the populated areas in Africa.
Tens of thousands participated in a protest shouting, "Enough is enough" towards police brutality and abuse.
The primary objective of the movement is to end an infamous police unit recognized as the Special Anti Robbery Squad or SARS. However, the protests have since become demonstrations advocating for police reform and to put a stop to poor governance in the oil-rich nation.
One of the familiar shouts used throughout the marches was "soro soke," in the Yoruba language of the nation, which means, "Speak up."
The movement had become "an EndSARS battle cry... a tone of rebellion, a note of valid belligerency and a chant of unification in the Nigerian struggle against police brutality and terrible governance," said a writer for Nigeria's Pulse newspaper, Motolani Alake.
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As per the United Nations Human Rights Commission, economic disparity has entered incredible levels in Nigeria, whereas Oxfam revealed that near to 70 percent of the nation's population continues to reside below the poverty line in 2019.
The Nigerian youth are now starting to make their voices heard with this revolutionary movement and taking a stand against the violence, harassment, as well as extortion they admit they have suffered at the grip of SARS law enforcements.
In 1992, the SARS unit was created to combat armed robbery and had been granted wide-ranging capacity. Numerous law enforcement officials do not wear self-identifying uniforms and even nametags.
Presently, there were multiple complaints about how they had started to turn on the people and perpetrated the same atrocities they have been set up to fight against.
Between 2017 and 2020, Amnesty International recorded 82 reports of police cruelty in Nigeria. The human rights organization wrote in a recently leaked report published in June 2020 that individuals in SARS custody were "subjected to a variety of methods of torture including hanging, mock execution, beating, punching and kicking, burning with cigarettes, waterboarding, near-asphyxiation with plastic bags, forcing detainees to assume stressful bodily positions and sexual violence."
SARS allegations are not unfamiliar. Since 2017, people have been complaining more about the unit on the internet, and there have been many failed government efforts to redo it.
However, the motivating factor for the latest mass demonstrations came in early October when allegations emerged in local media that a teenage boy had been beaten by police and driven off in his luxury vehicle.
Unsurprisingly, Nigeria's EndSARS rallies were compared with the battle against police brutality in the U.S.-- the Black Lives Matter.
With rallies of unity in the U.K., the U.S., Germany, as well as other places around the world, it has drawn massive worldwide support.
In the functional system of the campaign, there has been no perceptible leadership, and the young people have been prompt to dismiss any individuals who attempted to embed themselves as a figurehead as they risked being compromised.