Nigerians are still protesting. It’s been days but now, the hashtag has a new addition #EndSWAT. The young Nigerians are unrelenting in their requests because they just want one thing: for law officials to stop killing and harassing them for no tangible reason.
As someone far away from Nigeria, you might be wondering why they are not tired.
This is why.
These are things you rarely have to worry about or think twice about but young Nigerians have to be extra careful about because one mistake…and you are dead.
Leaving laptops at home or the office
It’s not about getting robbed or “kwasheyed” because you have your laptop in your bag. In Nigeria it means being labelled a scammer by SARS officials and getting arrested just because you have a laptop. These arrests usually come with physical abuse and extortion before you are let go. If you are unlucky, you’d lose your life.
Deleting chats on your phone
Imagine having to delete your conversations in your phone before going anywhere at all because law enforcement officials can stop you and go through your chats. You never know what they might decide to call “evidence of fraud.” It might be something as simple as texting “transaction” to someone or having contacts of friends and family in the USA or UK or even a meme!
Reconsidering a career choice
Imagine working in the Tech industry especially. This means you’d always have to have certain gadgets and if you aren’t careful and you are caught by SARS with any, best believe you will be instantly labelled as a scammer. Explaining what you do will not make them budge because tech = fraud/yahoo.
Avoiding drip at all cost
Imagine not being able to look as good as you want because SARS officials see that as “suspicious activity.” Wearing designer clothes or expensive-looking accessories for them means you are using illegal means to make money to afford designer clothes.
Staying away from iPhones
Imagine wanting to buy an iPhone after saving for months but changing your mind because the probability of getting killed and wrongly accused relies on the phone brand you use.
Rethinking any hairstyle
We know for years, people with locs or dyed hair have been labelled as “rascals” but imagine risking your life just to do what makes you feel comfortable and makes you look good. Imagine growing a beard and getting arrested, beaten and shaved because you “look like a hooligan.”
These are just a few and more because honestly, it seems the SARS officers choose their victims based on how they’re feeling. If you are in Ghana or any other country currently wondering why the Nigerians are angry…just think about how you easily move around doing most of these without worrying about ending up dead in the middle of nowhere.
Support the protest on Twitter #EndSWAT because the Nigerian officials changing the name of SARS to SWAT or anything else does not mean our Nigerian friends are safe.
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