Chimamanda Adichie narrated an unpleasant experience her cousin had with SARS and also spoke about the Lekki toll gate shooting.
Chimamanda Adichie wrote:
“For years, the name SARS hung in the air here in Nigeria like a putrid fog. SARS, which stood for Special Anti-Robbery Squad, was supposed to be the elite Nigerian police unit dedicated to fighting crime, but it was really a money making terror squad with no accountability. SARS was random, vicious, vilely extortionist. SARS officers would raid bars or stop buses on the road and arbitrarily arrest young men for such crimes as wearing their hair in dreadlocks, having tattoos, holding a nice phone or a laptop, driving a nice car. Then they would demand large amounts of money as ‘bail.’
Narrating how her cousin was arrested, she wrote:
“SARS officers once arrested my cousin at a beer parlor because he arrived driving a Mercedes.
“They accused him of being an armed robber, ignored the work ID cards he showed them, took him to a station where they threatened to photograph him next to a gun and claim he was a robber, unless he paid them a large sum of money.
“My cousin is one of the fortunate few who could pay an amount large enough for SARS, and who was released. He is not one of the many tortured, or the many disappeared, like Chijioke Iloanya.”
She went on to tell the story of Chijioke, a 20-year-old who “had committed no crime” but was arrested in 2012 at a “child dedication ceremony in Anambra State”. He hasn’t been seen since then.
Speaking on the End SARS protests, she said the call to end SARS has been going on for years but it was different this year.