As rounds of protests against police brutality grip major Nigerian cities, some Nigerians in the diaspora are planning a rally in solidarity with the #EndSARS movement.
The movement which first began in 2017 erupted in fresh protests on Wednesday in cities such as Lagos, Abuja, Ugehili and Ibadan over the reported killing of a man by police Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) operatives on Saturday.
As the animosity towards the police unit continues to grow, protesters are demanding an end to the menace of police brutality and harassment of youth, calling for a total disbandment of the unit.
To this end, some Nigerians in the United Kingdom and Canada have expressed anger over the menace, vowing to march in solidarity with the movement to the Nigerian embassies situated in their countries of residence.
On Friday, the #EndSARS hashtag trended number one world-wide on Twitter, particularly in the UK and the United States—coming at a time when global outcry on police brutality continues to surge after the killing of African American, George Flyod.
A rally is scheduled for Sunday at the Nigeria High Commission in London, a former housemate of the BBNaija reality show, Mike Edward, made the announcement on Twitter.
“I want to lead the #EndSARS protest here in London, who will join me? Nigerians in the Diaspora let’s not be silent.”
Nigerian-British actor, John Boyega, who voiced his support for the campaign on Twitter, urged other Nigerians in the UK to join the movement.
“This situation is tied to many other issues. Please lend your attention to this pressing problem!” Mr Boyega tweeted.
Similarly, a Nigerian lecturer based in the UK, Dipo Awojide, who has consistently condemned violent actions of the SARS operatives also called Nigerian music stars in the country to join the demonstration.
“Odogwu @burnaboy and @wizkidayo, I hear you are in London – please join us on Sunday at 12PM. Nigeria Flag of Nigeria High Commission London. A PEACEFUL PROTEST!! YOUNG NIGERIANS need your VOICE #EndSARS #EndSarsProtests #EndPoliceBrutalityRaised fist RT until they see it & reply,” Mr Awojide said on Twitter.
Another Nigerian based in Canada, Jake Effoduh, announced the plan to lead such a movement in the country.
“I want to lead the #EndSARS protest here in Canada (Toronto), who cares to join me? Let our voices be heard everywhere,” Mr Effoduh said on Twitter.
Meanwhile, #BuhariResign became a trending topic on Nigeria’s twitter space Friday afternoon, with several users calling for the abolition of the police outfit.
Nigerians including celebrities and politicians have continued to lament the extra judicial killings, extortion, and other illegal activities carried out by the men of the squad.
Popular celebrities in Nigeria, including Folarin Falana (FALZ) Toke Makinwa, Tiwa Savage, Douglas Jack-Agu (Run town), Paul Okoye (Rudeboy), Debo Adebayo (Mr Macaroni) were among the protesters.
Former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, is one of the politicians who commended the Nigerian youths for kick-starting the campaign.
“I would like to commend the tenacity of our brave youths who have stayed out on the streets all day and night to make their voices heard. I stand with you all,” Mr Abubakar wrote on his Twitter page
But, while the Lagos protesters have enjoyed peaceful atmosphere and response from authorities, their counterparts in Abuja were disrupted by the police officials.
Security officers from the police as well as civil defence on Friday dispersed the protesters.
Meanwhile, speaking in a programme on Channels Television Friday, Frank Mba, the police force spokesperson said “there are different people motivated by different reasons calling for an end to SARS.”
Mr Mba noted that while some are genuinely concerned about the professional misconduct of SARS, others are beneficiaries of criminal enterprise such as those into organised crimes.
Nigerian govt keeps mute
But the Nigerian government is yet to address its citizens on the protests.
Last week, it announced a ban on routine patrols by SARS and other tactical squads of the Nigerian police but that was not the first time it had done so.
According to Amnesty International, it was the fourth ban in four years.
It said the government had failed to quell the unit’s “impunity and brutality.”
“The unit’s corruption is getting worse despite repeated pledges to reform the police squad and investigate violations committed by its officers,” it said.
A 2017 survey by Nation Bureau of Satistics showed police officers were the most likely of all civil servants to solicit and collect bribes.
A unit set up in 1992 to combat the surge of armed robbery incidents in the country, the SARS operatives have been condemned for turning to brazen extortion and extrajudicial killing.
Now, Nigerians are holding sit-in campaign and vigils to put an end to the menace.
The protests have entered a third day with relative peace.
But on Friday, the Nigerian Police accused protesters of violence and the murder of a police officer in the Delta State region.
“ENDSARS PROTESTERS GO BERSERK – MURDER 1 POLICEMAN, INJURE ANOTHER IN DELTA, STEAL AK47 RIFLE WITH 25 ROUNDS OF AMMUNITION,” the police’s said in a tweet.
If @MBuhari fails to address us on national TV today, we will match down to the airport tomorrow and shut the place down. by then, we won't only be demanding #EndSARS, we will be demanding #BuhariResign. We are not going back on this. ALUTA CONTINUA #EndSARSProtest
— Akeula Trendy™ (@akeula_trendy) October 9, 2020
— #EndPoliceBrutality ❌❌❌❌ (@Swaveboy_IDC) October 9, 2020
It's a disaster to be governed by political vegetables.
Frank Mba saying govt can't #EndSARS because of the money invested is so horrible. How can you compare human lives to money? Moreso, who are you to determine how people spend their money?#BuhariResign#EndSarsProtests
— Tope Akinyode (@TopeAkinyode) October 9, 2020
We are tired of @MBuhari#BuhariResign#BuhariResign#BuhariResign#BuhariResign#BuhariResign#BuhariResign#BuhariResign#BuhariResign#BuhariResign#BuhariResign#BuhariResign#BuhariResign#BuhariResign#BuhariResign#BuhariResign#BuhariResign
— God'spower (@Dr_savage12) October 9, 2020
The silence of NASS and presidency shows that they don't care about us. Most of them obtained those positions through vote buying, ballot stealing and election rigging. Our next protest is to call for the resignation of the president and NASS SPEAKERS.#EndSARS #BuhariResign pic.twitter.com/1HqwmIEzsv
— #EndPoliceBrutality ❌❌❌❌ (@Swaveboy_IDC) October 9, 2020
Roads have been blocked. It has begun.
— #EndSarsNow (@Anonmindset) October 9, 2020
Support PREMIUM TIMES' journalism of integrity and credibility
Good journalism costs a lot of money. Yet only good journalism can ensure the possibility of a good society, an accountable democracy, and a transparent government.
For continued free access to the best investigative journalism in the country we ask you to consider making a modest support to this noble endeavour.
By contributing to PREMIUM TIMES, you are helping to sustain a journalism of relevance and ensuring it remains free and available to all.
TEXT AD: To advertise here . Call Willie +2347088095401...