Peaceful demonstrators are being killed while protesting police brutality
Last night, security forces in Lagos, Nigeria opened fire on a crowd of hundreds of people protesting police brutality, killing at least 12 and wounding many more, according to The Premium Times newspaper.
Hundreds of demonstrators were gathered outside a key protest location in the district of Lekki, in the nation’s capital, in defiance of a 24-hour curfew imposed by Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, which was brought in to try and stop the protests.
Videos circulating on social media appear to show live rounds being shot into the crowd by Lagos security forces. Parts of the incident were live-streamed on instagram by DJ Switch, a popular DJ, whose video showed people attending to a man on the ground with a bullet wound as others pleaded for help. However, the Nigerian army has said on Twitter that all reports of their involvement were “fake news”.
The President of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari, has spoken of the need for calm amid rising calls for police reform. For the past two weeks, thousands of Nigerians have been demonstrating against police unit, the Special Anti Robbery Squad (SARS), which has, for years, been accused of extortion, brutality, and murder by rights groups.
The hashtag #ENDSARS has gone global with people sharing their stories and footage of brutality at the hands of SARS, and has gained the support of celebrities such as John Boyega, Viola Davis, City Girls, and more. There’s a wealth of information out there about ways in which to help the people of Nigeria, a few of which are listed below.
Before committing to re-posting content and sharing potentially false information, it’s important to educate yourself on the issue from reliable sources. Endsarsuk is an organisation committed to amplifying the voices of the Nigerian Youth against police brutality. It has a wealth of information, including an explainer video, on its Instagram account which provides ways to help.
DIASPORANS AGAINST SARS
One of the simplest but most effective means can be to donate money to the right places. This GoFundMe has been set up by members of the Nigerian diaspora and calls out to all members and allies for human rights to join the fight against police brutality. The fundraising page reads: “Our people, our young generation, they are being killed at the hands of state sanctioned officers! This has sparked the biggest civil movement in the country’s modern history. Youth everywhere, around the world, are lending their voice to say ENOUGH IS ENOUGH. Will you lends yours too?”
Follow this link here to make a donation.
SIGN AND SHARE LETTERS TO THOSE IN POWER
Endsars UK has a link on its Instagram to a set of email templates addressed to politicians, embassies, and high commissions who can help intervene. There’s templates for people living in the Netherlands, Canada, Germany, Switzerland, France, the US, and the UK. The email template asks for support to put pressure on the Nigerian government to hold the police officers accountable “for their brutal behaviour”, and to “address the demands of the people, free innocent prisoners, and answer for the bloodshed that took place last night”.
The template concludes: “We the people urge you to take a stand against this injustice as Nigeria is now embarking on a new path.”
However, be careful not to sign anything calling for the UK government or other states to recind funding from Nigeria, as this is likely to harm the most vulnerable. Calls by Nigerian writer Jason Okundaye to not sign any petition calling for indiscriminate sanctions against Nigeria have been echoed on Twitter including by the account Black as in Revolution.
SUPPORT THE FEMINIST COALITION
The Feminist Coalition is a group of young Nigerian feminists which formed in July 2020, “with equality for women in Nigerian society with a core focus on education, financial freedom, and representation in public office”. The group also fights injustice through peaceful protests, fundraising, and social media organisation. “We have a vision for a Nigeria where equality for all people is a reality in our laws and everyday lives.”
Online protests have spread globally mainly through the hashtag #ENDSARS and many celebrities and public figures have put their name behind the cause including Rihanna, Kanye West, and Beyoncé, who said in a statement that she was “working on partnerships with youth organisations to support those protests for change”. But protests have been happening IRL too. On Wednesday October 21, Endsarsuk organised a protest outside the Nigerian High Commission in London in support of the demonstrations in Nigeria. Protests were also organised today in Old Market Square in Nottingham and the Nigerian Embassy in Dublin. There’s likely to be more in the coming days and weeks, so stay tuned to Endsarsuk.
If not for social media the world would not have known what happened yesterday. No Nigerian, African or global news provider broadcasted this matter.— Yorubae #EndSARS (@MissShaniqua2) October 21, 2020