This article was originally published on Common Edge.
For the past two weeks, cities across Nigeria were hit by protests against the notorious Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), a police unit setup in 1992 to fight armed robberies. The anti-SARS protesters are calling for the unit’s disbandment, due to its high-handedness, extra-judicial killings, extortion, and numerous human rights abuses.
Tragically, the protests came to a brutal climax on October 20, with the shooting of protesters at the Lekki Tollgate by gunmen believed to be agents of the Nigerian state. This led to casualties, which are currently a subject of controversy: the Lagos State government concedes that two persons lost their lives; groups like Amnesty International insist the figures are much higher.