If you are on social media, you probably have seen the many posts regarding #ENDSARS. SARS, or the Special Anti-Robbery Squad, is a division of the police unit in Nigeria that has been the cause of terror for many Nigerian youths. This issue is not something that has just occurred in recent days, but rather has been brought to light during the international outcry for importance to be placed on Black Lives. Nigerian youth, both native to the country and living abroad, have had enough and are fed up with the corruption and brutality that has plagued the country for years.
However, despite the hashtags, urge for awareness, GoFundMe links and petitions being spread across the web daily, there has been limited media and news coverage regarding said atrocities. As said during an October 21st CNN newscast with Michaela Pereira, the lack of media attention is simply because #ENDSARS is not a priority to the west.
This idea is particularly troublesome, but not untrue. One must only look at the attention paid to the burning of Notre Dame in France, which had many world leaders and affluent individuals showing outward support. The lack of media coverage does not make #ENDSARS any less important, however, so it is now our responsibility to educate ourselves. Here’s what you need to know:
Despite government disbandment of the police unit on the 10th of October, youth in Nigeria peacefully began demanding better policing in the country, both in the streets and online. These peaceful protests turned deadly on October 20th, as a 24-hour curfew was issued by Executive Governor of Lagos State, Babajide Sanwo-Olu. This curfew directly went against the rights of these Nigerian citizens to protest peacefully against brutality. Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari then requested army officials to protest at the Lekki Toll Gate, resulting in the killing of over 30 innocent individuals. Along with the call for disbandment of the police unit and better police services, there has now been an outcry for Buhari to be removed and impeached from office.
As the world screamed Black Lives Matter for months, there is no reason the youths of Nigeria and those in Africa speaking out against these injustices should be ignored or forgotten. This issue should be regarded as a priority, the same way the west has made it a priority to drain the continent of Africa of its resources, exploit their people and profit off their culture and aesthetic.
Change occurs when voices are amplified. Seeking out people in positions of power and influence and forcing them to pay attention and to speak on topics such as these can start a revolution. Reach out to media outlets like CNN, BBC, CBC or CTV, share images and accurate information, and utilize platforms like Instagram, Snapchat and Facebook to help amplify the voices that are trying to be heard.
You can donate to help individuals in crisis or sign a petition below: