#EndSARS protesters in Kaduna State on Saturday asked the Federal Government to deploy operatives of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad to the North East to fight banditry, terrorism and other security challenges facing the country.
The protesters made up of youths from different civil society organizations held a peaceful march in the state capital to lend their voice for the disbandment of SARS.
“We need to be protected, nobody should be harassing us. Our call to the Federal Government is that they should end SARS now or take them to Maiduguri, there are bandits there,” one of the protesters, Mohammed Safiyanu said.
Making the demand on behalf of other protesters, he said they embarked on solidarity protest in union with other Nigerian youths in the country.
While condemning the brutality of security operatives whom he said were meant to protect Nigerians, Safiyanu asked the Federal Government to address the demands of the protesters.
“They should go and fight them if they are not ready to end it. They should stop killing our innocent youths. Kaduna State Government should take SARS to Birnin Gwari, there are many people dying there. They deserve to be there, not inside the town. They don’t deserve their brutality.
“There is no how you will just come out with phones and they will start brutalising you, for what? Why? We are Nigerians.”
Displaying placards with various inscriptions and chanting songs, the youths demanded the dismantling of the squad with immediate effect and prosecution of its officers found guilty of human rights abuses.
The protest coincided with President Muhammadu Buhari’s visit to the state for the passing out parade of cadets at the Nigerian Defence Academy.
The Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) of the police force was put together to tackle robbery and crimes related to an armed robbery within the country, but the unit has repeatedly sparked outrage and gained notoriety for extortion, harassment, torture and killings.
Many rights activists and citizens have lamented that without any legislation or order, the unit has morphed itself into some form of the anti-graft agency, harassing many young Nigerians, especially men who spot dreadlocks and other forms of fancy head styles.
The latest protests against SARS, triggered by yet another controversial incident in Delta on Saturday, went beyond previous efforts as many Nigerians – young and old – took to the streets for more than two days, determined to rid the country of the unit.
In Abuja, Lagos, Imo, Delta, Kwara and several states protests were held, asking the police authorities and the Federal Government to act.
The ban on patrols by SARS officials by the Inspector-General of Police on Sunday and a promise of reform were not enough.
Previous reforms including a name change for the unit to FSARS and back to SARS had not addressed the challenges.
On Friday morning, the youths assembled and chanted solidarity songs. Others continued with ‘END SARS!’ ‘END SARS!’ chants as they demanded an audience of the lawmakers.