Is it illegal to own a laptop, an iPhone, or carry a backpack in Nigeria?
With the brutality and intimidation meted out on the Nigerian youth by SARS — Special Anti-Robbery Squad — one might be led to believe that it is. These brutalities have given birth to the #EndSARS campaign on Social Media. A campaign that has garnered over 150,000 tweets and 25,000 signatures via the online petition created to further increase awareness and also ensure that the government does something about it.
Techies and Non-techies alike are also making use of the hashtag to recount horrifying experiences they had to go through in the hands of SARS:
Check out a few of them below:
Can't count the number of times I had to go to the police station because one of our Andela developers called to say they had been arrested. #ENDSARS
— Iyinoluwa Aboyeji (@iaboyeji) December 4, 2017
I ws stpd by Sars just as I ws abt entering Ilorin from Lagos,askd me hw I got an iPhone and I tld dem I wrk 4 a reputable Company in Lagos and they asked hw mch is my salary,askd to open my banking apps,confiscate my office Laptop,went tru my mails including work emails #EndSARS
— Ogbeni Mide (@Awesome_mide) December 3, 2017
In 2015, SARS official asked for my Laptop receipt. Said it‘s in NY. He said I must go to NY to bring it or pay 50k. I refused. He called his guys to say he’s found a criminal & they came w/ cuffs & guns. Called my uncle, an Asst Comm & was released. Could’ve been jailed.#EndSARS
— Oluwaseun Ayodeji Osowobi (@AyodejiOsowobi) December 4, 2017
— Jah_deborick (@iamdeborick) December 4, 2017
… And if you think this is just a guy thing, think again!
Even as a woman you are not safe from SARS and their wahala.
I've been man handled by one on the road before because 'Wetin small girl like you dey carry two phones do '
— PETS For Sale! (@owhreoluwa) December 2, 2017
I know 3 girls that have been rapped by SARS officers. 1 in illorin, 2 in lagos #EndSARS
— EMORE🌟 (@KinggTyra) December 3, 2017
Any woman who's not on this #EndSARS train is foolish. They are abducting and raping girls claiming they are prostitutes. Especially young girls. So y'all better get on board. Nobody is safe.
— Mrs. M (@En_MsIwara) December 4, 2017
Meanwhile, the Police spokesperson, Jimoh Moshood, is of the opinion that people calling for the end of SARS may likely be armed robbers.
In his words:
“As we speak, SARS is doing fantastically well across the country in reducing incidents of robbery to the bare minimum… they are doing very, very well.
There has not been any specific violation of human rights against any SARS personnel. So anybody that is spreading such a rumour is not doing the nation any good. SARS has no excesses and when there is any, we do investigate.
The call for SARS to be scrapped should be condemned by all well-meaning Nigerians. Anybody calling for their proscription is not doing the nation any good and such people should be suspected as having something to hide.”
However, former Vice President had this to say:
Everyday, we encourage our young people to become entrepreneurs. Buying a laptop to earn a living shouldn’t attract harassment.
— Atiku Abubakar (@atiku) December 3, 2017
So, dear SARS, we are not fraudsters because we own Smartphones, use a MacBook, or drive a car in our 20s, some of us are Bloggers, Developers, Computer Engineers, Graphic Designers, Freelancers, Digital Marketers, to name a few!
Enough is enough!