Mint or mint?

Ella Tallett

Imagine a group of people has a vehement dislike of mint ice cream. This group continues to grow bigger, and they start to demand for this ice cream flavor to be discontinued. The company eventually decides to discontinue the ice cream flavor but then immediately releases a new flavor called mentha ice cream—also known as mint ice cream. What did this accomplish?

The Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) in Nigeria was recently dissolved on Sunday, October 11 after mass protests in Nigeria and throughout the globe demanded an end to SARS and police brutality. The SARS unit was guilty of many human rights abuses and ended the lives of many young Nigerians. The announcement of the dissolution of SARS was initially met with large, triumphant celebrations.

However, on Tuesday, October 13, The Nigerian Police Force announced the inception of the Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) unit that was created to replace the SARS unit. Members of the SARS unit have been brought on board the new SWAT team, sparking even more outrage. 

This story has caught the attention of the world, with many media users and famous celebrities voicing their support with the Nigerian protesters. 

“It is a compelling story of government corruption and its exercise of power through a police force. An important factor is that Nigeria is an extremely young country (half of the population is age 19 or younger, per the New York Times), and it has used social media to aggressively promote what it feels is corruption in its country. Some social media campaigns just seem to take hold on a national and international level, and this is one of them,” Mr. Michael Goldsmith, a theology and social studies teacher at Xavier, said. 

Nevertheless, Nigerian protestors show no sign of accepting this new police unit, with the new hashtag, #EndSWAT, surfacing across the media. Through these protests, Nigerians have come to want more than just an end to police brutality. They want better schools, a less corrupt government and a reformed nation. 

Different groups of people have had contrasting views when it comes to the SARS movement. For example, those in the north—who are large supporters of President Muhammadu Buhari and a part of the All Progressives Congress political party—believe that the SARS movement is driven by those in the south looking to discredit Buhari. However, other people believe this movement is vital for the nation to move forward. 

  “It takes youth being consistent in their agitation to create norms that make civil rule unique and for a people. Struggle is what produces freedom: nothing comes without a fight,” Tajudeen Yusuf, a member of Nigeria’s House of Representatives and the People’s Democratic Party, said. 

Although the people’s demands for the disbandment of SARS, the mint ice cream of law enforcement, was never truly met, they will continue fighting for a better future.