Stories about how Nigerian youths are constantly being harassed and exploited by SARS operatives seems to be a never-ending tale.
In a bid to fight against robbery, the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) was created in Nigeria around 2006.
Fortunately, they (SARS operatives) have been able to reduce the extent of robbery and kidnapping in the country.
However, over the years, the people put in office have also been able to tarnish the image of the agency following cases of extrajudicial killings, torture, harassment, intimidation, ill-treatment of detainees, and extortion of suspects.
This led to the emergence of the #EndSARS movement that Nigerians have continued to rave about.
The #ENDSARS Campaign is bigger than me,it’s bigger than @segalink , @RuggedyBaba @citizen_gavel . We must all come together support them and take our country back.
RT, comment, Share and subscribe to my YouTube page 🙏🏿#MondayMotivaton
Full Video link: https://t.co/obMrRbeBt6 pic.twitter.com/rDQxMgCwKa
— Joseph Momoh (@jwhitepm) August 6, 2018
Although, it seemed as if the Federal Government had heeded to the citizens’ plea to do something the branch of the Nigerian police under the criminal investigating department (CID) in 2018 after many years of turning a deaf ear to everyone.
SARS somehow managed to resurface and are now worse than before.
On August 14, 2018, the-then acting president, Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, stated his spokesperson, Laolu Akande, ordering the Inspector General of Police to shut down the unit “with immediate effect“.
Sadly, the body could only be rehabilitated and not scrapped, the Vice President saw that SARS was rebranded under the FSARS name, to be handled by the office of the Inspector General of Police.
Internet Fraud, also known as Yahoo Yahoo
The situation of the economy has also not been fair on Nigerian youths, who opt for alternative means to succeed at all cost, some end up going in the wrong direction.
The government, in turn, intend to reduce the rate of fraud cases in the country.
Mostly university students and graduates are most times the culprits behind this crime and they are widely known to be “tech-savvy”.
SARS method of identifying yahoo yahoo
Youths are no longer safe if they have dreadlocks, piercings, cars, laptops, expensive phones, unrefined means of dressing and expressions because they will be harassed and exploited by security operatives who are supposed to protect them.
Things u cannot do in lagos without sars harassing you:
Wear fine cloth(dress like @wizkidayo )
Dreadlock ur hair
Have a tattoo
Having a flashy fone
Carry a laptop bag even without having a laptop init
— KłNG VłZ¥ (@adeyemmyvincent) December 3, 2017
A story about a Nigerian photojournalist, Yinka Badmus made headlines after he was arrested on December 31, 2018, by the anti-crime agency because he had dreadlocks.
The young man was said to have been remanded at Ikoyi Prison by the Lagos State Police Command Anti-Cultism Unit for 14 days before being released with reported health issues.
Yinka Badmus has been detained at the Ikoyi prison since Dec 31st for having dreadlocks. He hasn’t committed any crime, and they are preventing his family from seeing him. Please retweet and share until it gets to the relevant parties @ayosogunro pic.twitter.com/wuYgfyUU0Q
— SoC is coming to Netflix bishessssss 🌈🍭🇳🇬 (@angryblackqueer) January 12, 2019
A young man, Toni Astro went viral after he took to Twitter to narrate his experience with SARS in Ketu, Lagos which happened on Saturday 28th September.
Toni Astro was arrested simply because he is a software developer.
A software developer has to work with his computer system.
The man was apprehended and taken to the station where he was accused him of being a perpetrator of internet fraud, alias yahoo yahoo, because of his laptop even though he had his identification card.
His ID clearly stated that he is a student but he wasn’t allowed to reach out to his relatives.
Afterwards, they beat him and forced him to go withdraw half of the money in his account for them.
This news sparked outrage among Nigerians especially tech leaders, who were left with no other choice than taking legal action against illegal arrests of software engineers to protect their own.
— BEZ (@BEZidakula) September 28, 2019
The Nigerian tech community team up to fight against alleged police harassment
On Monday 30 September 2019, the Innovative leaders launched a campaign #StopRobbingUs, to put a stop to the common practice where young people are accosted by police officers for being with their laptops, unlawfully arrested, or defrauded by asking them to pay an outrageous amount to regain their freedom.
According to reports, the tech leaders will be working alongside ‘Enough is Enough Nigeria [EiE]’, a network of individuals and organizations that promote good governance and public accountability in Nigeria.
The campaign, which will be led by ‘Bosun Tijani of CcHUB, Jason Njoku of iROKO, Iyin Aboyeji of Future Africa and Oluyomi Ojo of Printivo, among others, have teamed up to request for the intervention of the Federal Government of Nigeria to ensure the safety of youths who work in the technology sector.
A fundraiser has also been launched by Flutterwave to raise money for a legal intervention and public awareness programme, which has already seen donations trooping in from across the globe.
No one should be afraid to go out with their laptops and their gadgets. For over a year we’ve asked the government to #EndSARS!
We need to come together to stop the harassment and extortion! Enough is enough! #stoprobbingus
— Big Odun Energy (@OdunEweniyi) September 29, 2019
In the meantime, Nigerians begin to express their worries on how they will move about to avoid getting harassed by the operatives.
Apparently JP Morgan sent an email to their staff in Nigeria asking them not to carry their work laptop to and fro from work because of SARS. So disappointing to hear
— Ladi ⚡️ (@LadiOnanuga) October 5, 2019
Father Lord, I'm an entrepreneur that provide digital business support services to companies, I do software, web, digital marketing and general IT consulting, I even do crypto on the side, pls save me from these robbers called SARS and the Nigerian Police. #EndSARS
— Chinonso (@nohrix) September 29, 2019
I told a SARS officer I am an Architect hence my laptop, he said
"Una go sha find name to give una self, wetin you know say be Architect, when last you use your eye see Architect?" Fam, I weak.
— Kene Ohama-Dike (@the_buull) October 9, 2019
In another post, a man was filmed dangling down the edge of a 2 storey building in Agege, Lagos State after allegedly being chased by SARS operatives
According to reports, the officers refused to help him when he was dangling so he lot his life.
In April, a video clip which went viral on Twitter showed two officials of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad of the Nigerian Police Force beating a young man with a big stick for allegedly refusing to unlock his phone.
The man was accused of being a “Yahoo Yahoo boy” simply because of his appearance.
"I Know My Rights, You have no Right to Search My Phone" – Young Nigerian Guy Cries Out As SARS Police Officers Mercilessly beat Him Up All bcos He had 2 phones and Refused to Unlock the Expensive one, they seized it, told him to Come to Alagbon FCIID to Retrieve, Pls RT #Endsars pic.twitter.com/gHz2FFWXl9
— Gossip Mill Nigeria (@GossipMillNaija) April 12, 2019
Lagos is not the only state where people have been attacked as a video showed a man bleeding after he was shot on his leg.
SARS again in Onitsha they shot this guy on the foot just because he refuse to follow them into their van
Please Nigerian government stop killing my brothers
stop killing IGBOS
stop killing BIAFRANS
enough is enough@MaziNnamdiKanu @UN @AmnestyNigeria @amnesty @Amaka_Ekwo pic.twitter.com/sqnPwfxSFp
— kevinaj Kayz (@kevinaj_kayz) October 3, 2019
Another heart-wrenching story from a Nigerian youth