US congresswoman supports #EndSARS protests, criticises FG for ‘simply renaming old police’
Ilhan Omar, a United States Democratic congresswoman from Minnesota, on Friday, Thursday showed support for Nigerians protesting police brutality in the country.
“I stand in solidarity with the protesters in Nigeria’s #EndSARS campaign. The Nigerian government must allow peaceful assembly and free expression, and should not be satisfied by simply renaming the old police,” Omar tweeted.
Omar, one of the first of two Muslim women to serve in Congress, said although “police brutality is a global problem” she insisted that “true reform” is expected from the Nigerian government.
Omar is joining several other people across the world to lead their voices against police impunity in the country.
In the last 10 days, young Nigerians have been protesting against the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), a unit of the Nigerian Police Force, after a video emerged of officers allegedly killing a man.
Soon the hashtag #EndSARS, began trending internationally. Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari announced that SARS will be disbanded, but that promise has not been enough to quell the anger. Nigerians continue to protest in major cities across the country.
Over the last three years, Amnesty International has documented 82 cases of torture, abuse, and extrajudicial executions conducted by SARS officers.
In 2016, Amnesty International documented 143 complaints made against SARS officers in less than six months. According to their most recent report, survivors of run-ins with the unit, usually youths, have experienced “mock execution, beating, punching and kicking, burning with cigarettes, waterboarding, near-asphyxiation with plastic bags, forcing detainees to assume stressful bodily positions and sexual violence.”
Protesters say they won’t stop marching until the government takes action on reforming the police rather than promise a reform.
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