Nigerian Entertainment Conference (NECLive), Nigeria’s largest annual gathering of creative sector professionals and the Editorial Board of Nigerian Entertainment Today (Netng) are unifying with voices of concerned citizens across the country, especially that of Nigerian creative and entertainment industry professionals, to demand a halt to the unconscionable threat to young lives in the country through police brutality and harassment.
Young Nigerians across the country have once again taken to the streets and social media with renewed calls and plea to #ENDSARS – a unanimous campaign to end the clandestine and sometimes brazen activities of the Special Anti Robbery Squad (SARS) and by extension, the Nigeria Police Force.
The SARS unit unfortunately has a long history of brutality against Nigerian youths. This year, Amnesty International documented at least 82 cases of torture, ill-treatment and extra-judicial execution by SARS between January 2017 and May 2020 in a report titled Time To End Impunity. Victims were predominantly young Nigerian males between the ages of 18 and 35 years with such connecting factors as low-income backgrounds as well as belonging to vulnerable groups.
We hereby call on the Nigerian Government to take swift measures to protect its young citizens from harassment, torture and avoidable deaths. As we remember the country’s 60 years of independence and unity, every young Nigerian should have the guaranteed right of movement, freedom of association and valued creative expression without fear for their life, livelihood or safety.