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What Do We Do About this SARS Issue?



I don’t step out of the house with my ATM card anymore. It’s just not something I do. It’s enough that I’m a guy, but worse is that my hair is locked. I’m prime meat for what the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) have become, what they have now adopted as their primary employ: kidnapping and extortion.

It’s been long we’ve been on this matter. The hashtag #EndSARS was how long ago? 2017! These guys have been assaulting Nigerians and going scot free since 2017!

How many people have died? Just how many people are missing today due to these same people who are supposed to be protecting us?

This link, THIS ONE, has so many stories about the menace these people have become that it’s exhausting to count. And the stories keep piling up that news sites don’t even report it anymore. It’s become a norm. The masses, celebrities, no one is exempt. Your neighbour don chop am, Oxlade don chop am—they’re like agege bread, they don’t discriminate.

Today’s own is chilling af, and it involved entertainment consultant Bizzle. There’s that sense of inevitability, that, If it can happen to him it can happen to any of us. Here’s the story:

The truth is that I’m afraid. Every time I leave my house I have to wipe my WhatsApp chats, carry ID cards, wear a face cap, all the while knowing that all these do not matter one bit. If one day it becomes my turn, they won’t matter one bit.

If where I’m going is someplace close, I don’t even carry my phone. But I’ve read about a boy who didn’t carry his phone with him and spent months in a cell. So, really, is there any point to all these precautions I keep taking? I am so afraid.

Back when the #EndSARS hashtag was at its crest, some flimsy measure was discussed. Police bosses went on media rounds, promised reforms. Obviously, all those turned out useless. We’re still suffering today. Citizens are still sending amber alerts on Twitter about police sightings at bus-stops. They’re still stopping us, still kidnapping us, still extorting us, still kidnapping us.

So the question remains: what do we do? What do we do about this issue? Because we can’t continue to live like this. We are so unsafe.

Niyi Ademoroti is the Features Editor at BellaNaija and an MFA candidate at the Iowa Writers' Workshop. His writing has appeared in AGNI, Hobart and The Republic.

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