Nigeria’s security forces opened fire on hundreds of innocent unarmed protesters in Lagos on Tuesday night of the protest against police brutality and we need to talk about this! We are not one to talk politics at FRUK, but we can’t let the current cruelty going on in Nigeria go unnoticed.
What started as a peaceful protest to end police brutality in Nigeria has become a global conversation for justice. The protest is currently dominating social media and supported by the world’s biggest stars. And more than 210,000 people have signed a petition calling for the U.K. government to implement sanctions against the Nigerian government officials.
The demonstrations began on 8th October after a video was shared on social media showing Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) officers allegedly shooting a man in Delta State, Nigeria. On 11th October, President Muhammadu Buhari then dissolved the police unit, however, demonstrators requested for more changes and a better Nigeria. The protest has grown into a wider discussion about bad governance, corruption, unemployment, poverty, lack of healthcare and basic amenities, such as roads, water, and electricity in Nigeria.
The world is currently battling a pandemic with Nigeria having 61,667 cases and 1,125 deaths at the time of this writing. However, Nigerians claim that these numbers are untrue and “The government has killed more people than COVID-19 since the protests”. Amnesty International also mentioned recording 82 cases of SARS abuses over the past few years, including hangings, mock executions, sexual assault, beatings, and waterboarding.
The world watched sickening social media posts and live videos as Nigerian security officers fired at the toll gate in Lekki, Lagos because protestors did not meet the curfew of 4pm. However this was said to be impossible as the citizens did not have enough time and were not ready to back down until their demands are met. There were scenes of protesters pleading for help, running and crying via Dj Switch‘s live video, who also supported the movement and said “we are fighting for the children” and urges the government to do what is right.
The Special Anti-Robbery Squad, SARS police unit was formed in 1992 to combat serious crimes and robbery in Nigeria. But they have misused their power and have been criticised for unlawful killings and torture. Since 2017, the unit that was created to protect Nigerians have been condemned for extortion of money, wrong profiling, imprisonment of innocent people, excessive force as well as physical and sexual assault.
This ongoing demonstrations have inspired people around the world including celebrities and footballers to show support. After unarmed protesters were shot, Twitter founder Jack Dorsey tweeted his shock, Beyonce also said she was “heartbroken” at the “senseless brutality”. The likes of Falz, John Boyega, Burna Boy, Wiz Kid, Cardi B, Davido and many more have all shared their disbelief and supported the movement.
“You people will be remembered in history as the first government to send the military to kill your own citizens. I am ashamed of this government, we are tired of you guys and we can’t take this anymore.” Man U’s Ighalo said and also added the UK government, world leaders and the United Nations to step in.
The Feminist Coalition group in Nigerian formed in July 2020 to champion equality for women have created a donation fund to support demonstrators and the injured. Producer and Director, Diana Childs also set up a funding page inspired by the bravery and courage exhibited by Dj Switch.
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