Image by @lanablack via Instagram

As African writers across borders, we denounce in the strongest terms the tyrannical and shameful persecution of innocent Nigerians by officers of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) of the Nigeria Police Force and the continued harassment of peaceful protesters in the country.

We note that, as Chinua Achebe said, “We cannot trample on the humanity of others without devaluing our own.” Nigerian authorities and the police have devalued themselves by keeping SARS in effect for as long as they have. This cannot be undone by merely disbanding, dissolving or otherwise rebranding SARS as SWAT, while still intimidating Nigerians who are exercising their rights to peaceful protest.

The list of innocent Nigerians who have been harassed, falsely imprisoned, tortured and extrajudicially murdered by SARS operatives is as long as the absence of justice for these victims is resounding.

We note that reform of the police and policing system in Nigeria will not be complete without justice for victims of SARS brutality and the arrest, dismissal and prosecution of police officers found culpable of crimes against the people.

We therefore condemn the continued determination of the Nigeria Police Force to shield officers indicted in flagrant acts of brutality by either promoting them or redeploying them away from places where their reprehensible acts of cruelty have drawn public ire, or by replacing the label on SARS with SWAT.

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Because the dead cannot cry out for justice, it is our duty, as the living and as writers and humans, to demand it for them. And so we stand firm to demand that every officer of SARS and the Nigeria Police Force in general who commits acts of brutality against our innocent brothers and sisters in Nigeria be subjected to an independent judicial inquiry.

We condemn the continued police harassment, arrest, detention and torture of peaceful protesters against police brutality as well as the empowerment and deployment of undesirable elements and sponsored thugs to attack protesters in Lagos, Abuja and Kano and other parts of the country by parties acting on behalf of the Nigerian state.

We note the threat by the Nigerian military to unleash its habitual terror on protesters and condemn this in the strongest terms. These protests are peaceful and are expressions of the fundamental rights of Nigerians, who should not be threatened by the military, the police or thugs while they go about the peaceable expression of their constitutional rights.

We strongly believe that Nigerian military might will serve public interest best if deployed against Boko Haram and bandits terrorizing the country, not against unarmed civilians exercising their rights.

We ask that the government of Nigeria, under President Muhammadu Buhari, take concrete measures, beyond the flippant rhetoric of years gone by, and immediately reform the police, the Nigeria Police Force as a whole. We insist that forthwith policing practices in the country be carried out with openness and transparency.

We will not condone further abuse of the fundamental rights of our sisters and brothers in Nigeria and elsewhere on the continent by security personnel who are sworn to serve and protect them.

We stand in solidarity with our brothers and sisters protesting on the streets of Nigeria, and ask that every right-thinking member of the global community raise their voice and support the agitation for justice for the victims of police brutality in Nigeria, the immediate termination of such inexcusable conduct by all units of the police and a sincere and tangible reform of the police in Nigeria.

#EndSARS

Chris Abani
Leila Aboulela
Kelvin Adantchede
Ayobami Adebayo
Leye Adenle
Bisi Adjapon
José Eduardo Agualusa
Ama Ata Aidoo
Dami Ajayi
Kofi Akpabli
Richard Ali
Abdulkareeem Baba Aminu
Lesley Nneka Arimah
Sefi Atta
Ayesha Harruna Attah
Biyi Bandele
Asiedu Benneh
TJ Benson
Oyinkan Brathwaite
Nana Brew-Hammond
Noviolet  Bulawayo
Jessemusse Cacinda
Panashe Chigumadzi
Tsitsi Dangarembga
Tolu Daniel
Phillippa  Yaa de Villiers
Dilman Dila
Raoul Djimeli
Renee Edwige Dro
Amatoritsero Ede
Ainehi Edoro-Glines
Chike Frankie Edozien
Victor Ehikhamenor
Chinelo Enemuo
Kalaf Epalanga
Virgilia Ferrão
Laurence Gnaro
Jonuel Gonçalves
Helon Habila
Abubakar Adam Ibrahim
Emmanuel Iduma
Arinze Ifeakandu
Eghosa Imasuen
Eugénio  Inocêncio
Tade Ipadeola
Nozizwe Cynthia Jele
Mubanga Kalimamukwento
Mali Kambandu
Toni Kan
Tamanda  Kanjaye
Parsalelo Kantai
Precious Kemigisha
Yejide Kilanko
Peter Kimani
Kinna Likimani
Rumbidzai Makanga
Angela Makholwa
Jennifer Makumbi
Napo Masheane
Mohale Mashigo
Lebogang Mashile
Makanaka Mavengere
Ngwatilo Mawiyoo
Zakes Mda
Howard Meh-Buh Maximus
Maaza Mengiste
Niq Mhlongo
Yamikani Mlangiza
Lerato Mogoathle
Yara Monteiro
William Ifeanyi Moore
Nastio  Mosquito
Merdi Mukore
Richard Ali Mutu
Njabulo  Ndebele
Okey  Ndibe
Beverley Nambozo Nsengiyunva
Remy Ngamije
Kagayi Ngobi
Mukoma wa Ngugi
Mazi Nwonwu
Chibuihe Obi
Chigozie Obioma
Obinna Ochem
K. Rene Odanga
Damilola Olagunju
Ukamaka Olisakwe
Natasha Omokhodion-Banda
Ondjaki
Troy Onyango
Tochi Onyebuchi
Chibundu Onuzo
Romeo Oriogun
Yvonne Adhiambo Owuor
Alice Palmira
Nii Ayikwei Parkes
Djamila Ribeiro
Muhammad-Tahir Sanuth
Taiye Selasi
Elma Shaw
Lola Shoneyin
Holder Simbad
Samantha Steele
Veronique Tadjo
Novuyo Rosa Tshuma
Kola Tubosun
Telma  Tvon
Hilda Twongyeirwe
Obinna Udenwe
Uche  Peter Umez
Chika Unigwe
Uzor  Maxim Uzoatu
Kenechi Uzor
Zukiswa Wanner
Molara Wood
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Image by Lana Black via Instagram @lanablackofficial