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The Role Of Video Evidence In The #EndSARS Movement - Adebayo Okeowo


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On October 3, a video showing the extra-judicial killing of two civilians by the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) of the Nigeria Police sparked outrage on social media. 

It led to more and more Nigerians sharing videos and personal stories of their brutal encounters with SARS operatives – a unit that became notorious for engaging in all manner of crimes, from armed robberies to unlawful arrests, rape, torture, and murder. 

The avalanche of video evidence made it impossible to ignore the calls for an end to police brutality in Nigeria, just like we have witnessed in Brazil and the US. Soon, the online outrage spilled onto the streets as protests broke out across the country on October 8, with Nigerians demanding for SARS to be disbanded and the perpetrators held accountable.  Why you must keep filming

Not only did a video trigger a civic reawakening, we have also continued to see it play a powerful role in galvanizing support for the #EndSARS protests. 

For instance, video evidence of police violence during the peaceful protests further strengthened the resolve of Nigerians to ensure there is an end to police brutality and impunity. It is ironic that the police decided to deploy brutal tactics as a response to peaceful protests against police brutality. 

Also, thanks to video evidence, young people like Ademola Ojabodu, Treasure Nduka and Felicia Okpara got released after being unlawfully arrested during the protests. 

Lawyers who have been working hard to provide free legal aid during the protests have reported that the police go as far as denying arresting protesters until they are confronted with video evidence.  Then, spurred by the mountain of video evidence, the governor of Lagos State announced the commencement of an orderly room trial for police officers who had been engaged in misconduct since the protests began. 

Also noteworthy is the fact that video has helped present irrefutable evidence of attacks on protesters by law enforcement agents.

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