“I stand with my Nigerian brothers and sisters to end police brutality, the government must answer to the peoples cries #EndPoliceBrutalityinNigeria,” West tweeted Monday.
Celebrities including singer Trey Songz (real name Tremaine Aldon Neverson), former professional footballer Rio Ferdinand and “Star Wars” actor John Boyega are also among those showing support to those protesting the disbandment of a controversial police unit in the West African nation.
The protests in cities across Nigeria came after weeks of outcry online from young people in the country over claims of kidnapping, harassment and extortion by a police unit known as the Special Anti Robbery Squad (SARS). Demonstrations continued after the inspector general of police announced Sunday that the unit was being disbanded and its officers redeployed.
Dissolution of SARS
As protests were ongoing in different parts of the world on Sunday, Nigeria’s inspector general of police, Mohammed Abubakar Adamu, announced that SARS was being dissolved.
But protests continued in Lagos, Abuja and Kwara on Monday, with young Nigerians saying they would continue to take to the streets until the entire police force was reformed.
“This is just the beginning!! We won our fight to #ENDSARS .. now Reform the Nigerian police!! #Endpolice brutality! We deserve good governance! #Endpolicebrutality,” Wizkid tweeted Sunday.
Abayomi Akinbo, who participated in protests in the Nigerian capital Abuja, agreed. “It is not enough to end that unit and redeploy them to other places,” he told CNN. “What we want is for the unit to end, and an investigation into the conduct of the SARS unit to be conducted.”
Akinbo added that officers should be trained on how to engage with citizens to minimize the brutality they inflict on people.
Addressing Nigerians in a video on Monday, President Muhammadu Buhari said that the disbandment of SARS “is only the first step in our commitment to extensive police reform.”
He added that every police officer responsible for wrongful acts would be brought to justice.