SARS abolished: Nigeria abolishes Special Anti-Robbery Squad (Sars)

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Nigeria Government has stopped the special police force at the centre of protests against police brutality.

The government said a special presidential directive had ordered the immediate dissolution of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS).

Protests against SARS were sparked after a video hit social media of a man allegedly being killed by police.

The demonstrations gained momentum despite a crackdown in Nigeria and spread outside the country.

Video of demonstration in London (U.K.)

How did Sars operate?

The latest round of protests were prompted by footage of officers pulling two men out of a hotel in Lagos into the street and shooting one of them.

The footage, leaked to the media, provoked outrage and led many to share stories of brutality attributed to the unit, which has developed notoriety for unduly profiling young people, Nduka Orjinmo in Abuja says.

Those considered “flashy” often attract the Sars officers’ attention and very few walk away without having to hand over money, while others are arrested or jailed on trumped-up charges and some have been killed, our correspondent adds.

Earlier this year rights group Amnesty said it had documented at least 82 cases of torture, ill treatment and extra-judicial execution between January 2017 and May this year.

The victims were mainly men aged between 18 and 35 from poor backgrounds and vulnerable groups. Many of those tortured were beaten with sticks and machetes and denied medical attention, the group said.

The “systemic use of torture… points to an absolute disregard for international human rights laws and standards”, Amnesty said.

Nigerian Police use tear gas & water cannon on protesters.

A young woman who had strayed from the crowd at one protest reported that she had been beaten by 10 policemen who broke her glasses. A reporter was also stopped by the police and her mobile phone broken by an officer.

Meanwhile the hashtag #EndSARS has been trending in Nigeria and globally, with demonstrations spreading to the UK and Canada.

U.K Afrobeat Artist Komo came to show frustration and support.

Celebrities including the Nigerian superstars Wizkid and Davido, as well as British-Nigerian Star Wars actor John Boyega, have backed the protests on social media.

ShopsyDoo (Energy Gawd)

On Sunday protesters including Wizkid, Smade, Oba Marteenz, Mr Eazi, Shopsy Doo, Komo gathered in central London.