The protests against Nigeria’s Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), a controversial police unit that has been accused of committing torture and killings, continue to escalate and have grabbed the world’s attention.
In the U.S., lawmakers have drawn a parallel to SARS and American police forces, many pushing the narrative that American law enforcement as a whole, is as corrupt as the Nigerian special police force being scrutinized.
Texas Reps. Joaquin Castro (D) and Al Green (D) have now introduced a resolution supporting the #EndSars movement, and Rep. Green has invoked the “Black lives matter’ movement here in the U.S.
But the issue in Nigeria has nothing to do with whether those individuals being unfairly and wrongly persecuted are black or not, it appears to be about a police unit that overstepped its authority in its crackdown on crime.
Congressman Green added, “I vehemently oppose and condemn the violent crackdown on peaceful protesters by Nigeria’s security forces. This is in part why I and my colleague Congressman Castro have presented a congressional resolution in support of the #EndSARS peaceful protest movement. This resolution – in addition to my previous letters to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo as well as United Nations officials – articulates our solidarity with peaceful protesters and urges the Nigerian Government to uphold the right to peaceful protest and assembly in accordance with international, African, and Nigerian policies. I thank Congressman Castro as well as multiple human rights organizations for their support of this resolution.”
Rep. Castro directly equated the violence in Nigeria to the recent call in the U.S. for criminal justice reform.
“Nigerians are protesting police violence, and like here in the United States, demanding justice. I’m proud to co-lead this resolution as a statement of support for the people of Nigeria who are protesting against these injustices,” said Congressman Joaquin Castro, Vice Chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. “Human rights abuses, including extrajudicial executions of peaceful protestors, must be independently investigated and held accountable.”