‘There is a genocide going on’: Aberdeen students protest against SARS

Students stand against the suffering and brutality in Nigeria

On Saturday the 24th of October around 200 Aberdonians and Aberdeen students gathered for a socially distanced protest against SARS.

SARS is the Special Anti-Robbery Squad which was originally set up by the Nigerian government to help tackle crime within Nigeria. Whilst supporters say it was an initial success, over the years there have been numerous reports of allegations against SARS and earlier this year Amnesty International released a report which documented 82 cases of alleged torture, ill treatment and extra-judicial execution by SARS between January 2017 and May of this year.

The End SARS movement has been around since 2017 after ongoing concern about the unit’s activities. It was initially successful with Nigeria’s police chief ordering an immediate reorganisation of the unit. However on 3rd October this year a video went viral of an alleged SARS officer shooting a man during a stop and search. The Nigerian police denied SARS had any involvement. On 8th October protests began across the country including major cities like Laos and Abuja. There have been protests in solidarity around the world.

Chidi at the socially distanced protest

Aberdeen students stood in solidarity with those who have been experiencing the extreme violence. Chidi, a law student at AU and organiser of the Aberdeen protest, told The Aberdeen Tab:

“Young people have been protesting over the past two weeks peacefully to speak up for their human rights, speak up for their rights to be protected and served by the police, but the police have been killing them. There is a genocide going on. They have been told to be on a curfew, no one can leave their home in Nigeria, they can’t protest anymore, so we are protesting on their behalf, so that momentum isn’t lost and their voices can still be heard.”