Government set the process in motion, but the Nigeria Police Force must lead on improving its members’ accountability.
Nigeria’s #EndSARS mass action in October 2020 and the subsequent security force crackdown led to promises that those affected would see justice. But events since then question the government’s commitment to genuine police reform.
The Nigeria Police Force continues to inflict extortion and brutality on innocent citizens, and recent decisions on the report of the judicial panel set up by the Lagos State government to investigate police abuses have dampened public expectations.
The #EndSARS protests called for a ban on the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) of Nigeria’s police. Set up in the mid-1990s to combat armed robbery, SARS morphed into a force associated with harassment, extortion and extrajudicial killings of suspects.
The protesters demanded that the federal government abolish SARS, provide justice to victims of police brutality and reform the police. Following additional pressure from human rights groups and local and global media, President Muhammadu Buhari dissolved SARS on 11 October 2020. Marches continued until 20 October when state security forces shot and killed peaceful protesters at Lekki Toll Gate in Lagos.