The violence continues in Africa as many lives are being taken due to a Nigerian Police Force called SARS (Special Anti Robbery Squad). On Monday, Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari witnessed the protest and the hashtag #ENDSARS through a video on Twitter and stated that SARS will be disbanded.
Back in September of this year, President Muhammadu Buhari even signed a new Nigeria Police Bill that promised for a more effective and well organized police force “driven by the principles of transparency and accountability in its operations and management of its resources.” Yet according to the Nubian Message, SARS is still continuing to target Nigeria’s LGBT youth in bribes, stealing, harassing, raping, blackmailing and even murder.
Mathew Blaise, an LGBT activist from Nigeria, dealt with SARS brutality first hand. After his encounter Blaise posted a video of himself marching, which received 3.2 M views on twitter. The #ENDSRAS movement sparked the attention of more protests and celebrities nationwide to stand up.
Mathew told Out, "The dehumanizing profiling and illegal detaining of queer people is one way the SARS force works. They randomly roam around the streets and pick up feminine-seeming boys, and even straight-passing men.... I have been in a situation where I was picked up when I was going to get drugs for malaria. I was very ill, and even when I told them about this, they laughed, dragged me, and mocked me. Queer people suffer all of this and more viciously as queerness is a crime even worse than theft or even murder here."
SARS was originally created in 1992 for locals to police crimes associated with robbery, theft, and kidnapping . Recently the unit has took it upon themselves to abuse, kill and deny rights to whomever they see fit, including members of the queer community.
The Amnesty International stated that between January 2017 and May 2020, there were at least 82 cases of torture, ill-treatment and extra-judicial execution by Sars. These cases were the ones acknowledged, not including the ones swept under the rug.
"If people want to help, I think people outside Nigeria should keep pressuring the Nigerian government in their various countries. Ask them why queerness is criminalized in the most populous country in Africa. Hold them accountable. Also help queer Nigerians financially as much as possible, as this is a huge human rights crisis," said Matthew to Out.
A Go Fund account has been created for "End Sars Emergency Aid Fund For Queers!" The Money raised will go to individual organizers during the #endsars protests to supply aid, water, food and support to the protesters. Also it will be going towards the bail out funds of LGBT victims of Sars.
Check Out This Video Of Protestors in Nigeria. (Viewer Discretion Advised)