Aliyu Dahiru Aliyu
Three years and counting.
The government has said that they would abolish the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) since 2017 but has taken no actions to do so.
Nigerian citizens are currently in danger. American news hasn’t published many articles talking about Nigeria and their situation. Americans need to take it into their own hands to help.
SARS is the special anti-robbery squad that was developed in Nigeria in 1992. They were developed to help the increasing cases of kidnapping, armed robberies, vehicle theft, and more. Over the years, they have taken a turn for the worse. They are out kidnapping lots of young people and profiling between the ages of 18 and 35. For example, if you have an iPhone, nice car, tattoos, dreadlocks, or piercings, you can become a target. Junior Ally Lawson has a brother from Ethiopia so Africa as a whole has a special place in her heart. Even before gaining her brother, she always tried to advocate and help others in need.
“I don’t think that Nigeria is getting enough attention because the only people I’ve really seen post about it are my family friends from Nigeria because this is something that majorly impacts them because they still have family there,” Lawson said. Nigeria is struggling with police brutality and harassment, they are speaking up about the situation and letting it be known around the world.
America has yet to shine much light to the whole situation. Oct. 20 at 12 p.m., the governor of Nigeria set a curfew for 4 p.m. due to protest. Traffic in Nigeria began to stack up as if you were to combine Los Angeles, Las Vegas and New York traffic together at once. Around 3 p.m., toll gate workers began to remove cameras from the gate. There were people protesting peacefully, holding signs and singing the national anthem. Around seven Nigerian Armed Forces showed up at the toll gate and began releasing live ammunition towards citizens.
As an African-American, Mt. Washington resident, Sienna Slaughter feels like most people don’t know enough about what is going on in Nigeria to talk about it on the news. She believes that the story hasn’t had much time to grow and no one has really seen or heard enough to cover it. On the other hand, Slaughter feels that social media is doing a great job getting the news, they are spreading graphic images showing people left in the streets by SARS. “I feel like this issue isn’t getting enough attention because many people are dying for no good reason,” Slaughter said.
The government of Nigeria claims that none of the military killings happened and that it was photoshopped. Days later when the president spoke, he completely ignored the protests and said that he should’ve never listened to the people of Nigeria. He claims that listening to the citizens was a sign of weakness considering he is a retired military ruler. Lawson feels that Nigeria isn’t being served justice.
“It should be covered in American news because first of all, we cover news from all over the world here to keep people updated. For example, the wildfires in Australia, those fires weren’t in America but we still covered it and gave our support, why should it be different for America. Right now America is so concerned about the election because the fate of our country is at risk and all the media outlets are either bashing or endorsing a candidate,” said Lawson. America has time and time shown again that we help our allies. Helping Nigeria would bring awareness informing Americans on the problems in Nigeria.
As citizens, we need to take things into our own hands. It’s our job as humans to help others. If America was in this situation, we would be asking for help. Nigerians are asking that we question our leaders about their foreign policies and how to help with events like these.