Before the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu announced the dissolution of the Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) yesterday, Arsenal’s Mesut Ozil, Manchester United’s Marcus Rashford, Ghana goalkeeper Fatau Dauda, Chelsea duo Tammy Abraham and Antonio Rudiger, as well as former African Footballer of the Year, Frederic Kanoute, have lent their voices to the protest against police brutality in Nigeria.
There have been protests in the country in the past week with citizens agitating for the scrapping of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad, a unit of the Nigeria Police Force.
SARS officers have been accused of harassing, robbing and killing youths for no just reasons over the last few years.
In February, they killed a footballer in Ogun State – Tiamiyu Kazeem, who was the vice-captain of Remo Stars, a club in the Nigerian second division. Several sports men and other youths have had very harrowing experiences with these operatives who most times resort to extra judicial killings.
On Saturday, Arsenal legend Ian Wright joined Serie A club AS Roma in supporting the public outcry even though another citizen was killed by the police during a peaceful protest in Oyo State.
“Horrible to hear what’s been going on in Nigeria. Let’s make this a trending topic everywhere #EndSARS. My thoughts go out to everyone who has been affected. #EndPoliceBrutality,” Ozil wrote on social media.
“My thoughts and prayers with all of those affected #EndSARS,” Rashford also tweeted.
Despite his international allegiance to England, Chelsea’s Tammy Abraham who was born to a Nigerian father showed his solidarity with a broken heart emoji.
Ghana goalkeeper Fatau Dauda who won the Nigeria Professional Football League title with Enyimba in 2019, also called for an end to the killings and described Nigeria as his second home.