By Chief Ali
Lagos, Nigeria — Protests have been growing in Nigeria, Africa’s most populous nation and largest oil producer, against the neocolonial state force Special Anti-Robbery Squad also known as SARS.
After the official end of British colonialism in Nigeria (and the start of neocolonialism), and after decades of civil war, SARS was founded in 1992. It started as a rogue vigilante police unit when the police in Lagos had a conflict with the Nigerian Army. And from the start, it was always a tool to protect the rich and their profits from neocolonialism.
As Nnennaya Amuchie writes in “#EndSars: Contextual Primer on the Youth-led Anti-Police Movement in Nigeria” via Hood Communist,
“[SARS] was created in 1992 to “stop crime”, specifically armed robbery and kidnapping which was a growing concern in the 1990s and 2000s. Armed robbery and kidnapping mainly targeted rich and middle-class Nigerians who have seen massive increases in wealth in the last few decades.”
Since then, SARS has been reported to engage in kidnapping, murder, theft, rape, torture, unlawful arrests, humiliation, unlawful detention, extrajudicial killings, and extortion.
The #EndSARS movement started initially in 2017, but in October 2020 it captured international attention. Still, since policing in Nigeria is just an arm of neocolonialism, ending SARS is will ultimately be an example of weak reformism because inevitably there will be another unit that will be formed that will carry out the same brutalizations of the people and the defense of neocolonial and colonial wealth.
Read on to learn about the details of the recent protests, and how the colonialism and neocolonialism are trying to neutralize the demands of the colonized masses.
The Start: State murder of a Colonized man
Starting on October 3, 2020, SARS, the Special Anti-Robbery Squad, killed a young man in Nigeria and then fled with his car. Video of the killing spread, and in the weeks since, tens of thousands of Nigerians have been protesting SARS, and the government response.
SARS has been notorious for abuse of power, profiling, harassment, and violence against young Nigerians.
Initial Government Response
After 10 days of protests, on October 12 President Buhari of Nigeria announced that he will disband SARS.
“It is important to recognize that the vast majority of men and women of the police force are hardworking and diligent in performing their duties the few bad acts should not be allowed to tarnish the image and reputation of the force,” said Buhari.
However, SARS officers have been accused of abuse, torture, and killing for many years. Is this the same police force that Buhari is defending over the colonized masses?
Moreover, other government authorities claimed that the same police members would be redeployed!
On October 20, Lagos, the largest city in Nigeria, instituted a 24-hour curfew. That very night, soldiers and police shot at demonstrators. It’s estimated that at least 15 people have died in the protests since the start of October.
Colonizers and the wealthy sellouts use their media to spin the narrative
Colonizers like Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, and neocolonial sellouts like Kanye West and Cardi B all endorsed the #EndSARS protests on social media, but what is that going to do for the Colonized proletariat getting killed on the streets of Lagos?
At the same time, a UK government petition to impose sanctions on the Nigerian government received more than 200,000 signatures within 24 hours.
Sanctions have never been and are not a way to encourage better treatment of the masses.
Sanctions are a tool of warfare, when the colonial masters want to change a government. In particular, colonizers may be upset that the poor & working masses are rising up against their puppet government!
The root cause: colonialism
Black Hammer maintains that the root issue of all the problems that Nigerians face is colonialism — the system of white power exploitation that has persisted for centuries and exists today.
Police violence and sellout neocolonial leaders are the tools that colonizers use to continue our exploitation.
Only with unity and organization can the poor and working class people of Nigeria overturn SARS and the corrupt leadership that led to it.
At the same time, there is a real risk that colonizers will use the unrest to further destabilize the country (like they did with countless other countries including neighboring Libya).
Black Hammer’s Nigeria chapter has been working with poor working Nigerians during the pandemic.
To Nigerians who want to seriously work to overturn the issues in their life and land, please join Black Hammer to work toward building self-determination for the poor working colonized people so that we can have dictatorship over our land, lives, labor and resources.