Nigeria: Caught Between Two Viral Pandemics

Photo by Temitayo Aina on Unsplash

β€œSARS again?"

"No. not this time."

"SARS has suddenly resurfaced to team up with COVID-19 to kill us all?"

SARS - Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome originated in China in 2002. The viral disease spread quickly throughout the world but was quickly contained. Nigeria’s SARS however predates the Chinese variant by ten years.

Fast forward to 2020, governments the world over found themselves in the agonizing throes of another viral pandemic. No nation was spared, neither was any immune. Globally, governments have been fighting the COVID-19 pandemic since its unleashing in the first quarter of 2020.

If you’re a non-Nigerian, you will be forgiven for thinking that Nigeria’s variant of SARS is the same thing as China’s SARS of 2002. Until recently, Nigeria’s SARS has been alive, well and flourishing. Because, Nigeria’s SARS is the dreaded police Special Anti-Robbery Squad.

There has never been any love lost between Nigerians and their law enforcement agencies. The enforcers even relish their unquestioned instant death power over the citizens.

SARS, the most feared of Nigeria Police Force was formed in 1992. It was mandated to deal with armed criminal acts related to robbery, motor vehicle theft, kidnapping and cattle rustling.

At its onset, Nigerians enjoyed some reprieve from armed criminals. Over the years, SARS unfortunately, transmogrified into a foreign hostile occupation force. The citizens they were ordained to protect were now seen as enemies. This is the best adduced but untenable reasons for the murderous brutality, tears and agony many Nigerians have had to endure for many years β€” at the hands of the police SARS. Contrary to their mandate, in the last few years, SARS has been controversially linked with endless bitter tales of extra judicial killings, extortions, framing and blackmails.

The "enough is enough" #endSARS, #endSARSbrutality and #endBADgovernment protests finally broke out. In a space of less than two weeks, SARS was…



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