Desireé Williams, Howard University News Service
As Black Lives Matter Protest breaks out across the nation, Americans have now added a new fight to their list. Protest in Nigeria has broken out in the fight against SARS that has left 69 people dead.
End SARS, which stands for End Special Anti-Robbery Squad, is a decentralized social movement against police brutality in Nigeria. The movement is an outcry for an end to the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), a controversial unit of the Nigerian Police Force with a long record of abuses. This squad was originally created in 1992 to protect Nigerian citizens from robbery and other violent crimes. However, this group has become controversial over accusations of police brutality. The hashtag #EndSARS went viral originally in 2017, now in 2020, it is resurfacing on the internet again.
As Nigerians are fighting for the end to this horrendous treatment, they are calling on the help of the whole world to bring a halt to the police brutality that has been haunting them for years.
Americans who are located in D.C., Maryland, and Virginia (DMV) area are doing their part when it comes to standing up against SARS. People are protesting in front of the United States Nigerian Embassy in hopes to make a change in the Nigerian Government while being here in America.
Esohe Omoruyi, an American End Sars protestor said they are doing everything that they possibly can to help raise awareness about this topic. “We are protesting, and reposting updates,” she said, adding that they are “keeping the issue trending mainly.” (try to use full quotes)
Jide Folarin is one of the DMV protest organizers who is constantly using his social platform to spread the word on how people in the area can participate. Folarin emphasizes the need for people to participate in this protest no matter where they are.
“Right now, we are going into the streets. We need people on the streets. Nigeria is trying to censor everything. The more push we get, the more awareness and hopefully one step closer to gaining our basic human rights back home,” he said.
Folarin said the protesters are passionate about the cost.
“The protest here in DMV has been emotional but we are one. We have been protesting for the last two weeks most especially at the Nigerian Embassy and we visited the ambassador’s house last night,” he said.
The citizens in Nigeria have solicited the help of people all over the world. Twitter has been the primary way that protesters based in Nigeria have been getting the message out to the rest of the world. “People are dying,” said the person behind the Nigeria Stories Twitter account, “(The) American government should help us, place sanctions on our leaders…the Nigerian government is killing its citizens.”
Odogwou, who did not want to give his name due to issues of safety, is a protester in Nigeria.
“We were all peaceful at the protests against killings. The government first paid thugs to disrupt and cause violence which all peaceful protesters went against,” he said.
Odogwou shared some ideas that he had for ways that Americans can help.
“We need the American Government to speak and support against the mass killing of innocent lives.”
He also mentioned the need for Americans to hold the leaders accountable through prosecution.
“(The American government should) suspend all ties to the Nigerian government, suspend all visa travels, all countries with ties to our government should suspend it all.”
Sources say that Nigerian President, Muhammadu Buhari, has not commented on the shootings that occurred during the protest. However, he advises that the world know all of the facts before commenting on the situation happening in the country.
Odogwou said the actions against protesters was a tragedy.
“People held the flag, sang the national anthem while being killed. It’s the greatest genocide in my country ever,” said Odogwou.