This is power! Welcome to Resistance.

The rise of a new generation of leaders.

Nigerian youth have tasted a new power, there is no backing down now. In the light of recent events which began as a trend on Twitter, on 9th October 2020, the #endsars movement has gained both local and international traction. The online protest which started as a demand for the government to put an end to a police unit called SARS (Special Anti-robbery Squad) as since taken it’s demands to the streets.

How it all started

SARS (Special Anti-robbery Squad)is a unit of the police force commissioned in 1992. It existed as a body to regulate criminal operations associated with armed robbery, kidnapping, etc.

Over the years SARS soon became a thorn in the flesh of Nigerians, especially it's youth. The unit went against several human right laws, illegal stop and search, bribery, extortions, unlawful arrest, and extrajudicial killings. A lot of their injustices have been documented by the citizens themselves, profiling them as unfit to be a part of the police system.

In 2017, the first online movement was held against this task force on Twitter. Thousand of Nigerian youths sharing their experiences with SARS officers who have gone from protecting Nigerian citizens to becoming criminals themselves.

The trending hashtag #EndSARS soon became the most popular online movement in Nigeria. This lead to a petition presented to the National Assembly, on the disbandment of Sars in the nation. It was signed by over 10, 195 Nigerian citizens, but unfortunately, their plea fell to deaf ears. Amnesty International recorded over 82 cases of torture, robbery, extra-judical killings between January 2017-May 2020.

Nigerians are outraged by the impunity with which SARS perpetrates horrific human rights violations- Osai Ojigho, Director of Amnesty International Nigeria

The Resurgence

After a video of the alleged murder of a man in Southern Delta state on the 9th of October, Nigerians have since taken their brewing anger on social media aggressively demanding the end of SARS.

The protest which started off as a nationwide social media call for justice and accountability by the police unit in question have taken their demands took to the streets of Lagos. Hundreds of youths armoured with their placards, cardboards, T-shirt and banners reading “EndSARS”

The protest soon extended to other cities in Nigeria, Abuja which recorded a rather unwelcoming response from the Federal Government as the police force began to throw tear gas, pour water on the peaceful protesters, and sending thugs to destroy properties of the protesters.

#EndSARS soon became the most trending topic in the world on Friday, 9th October, with over 2.4 million tweets.

This gathered a lot of support from celebrities and international institutions from across the globe.

The Minister for Africa for the UK Government, James Duddridge MP, says in an earlier post that the United Kingdom is monitoring the #EndSARS protests in Nigeria and calls for a peaceful police reform process.

The co-founder and CEO of Twitter, Jack Dorsey supported the #endsars movement by encouraging Nigerians to donate via bitcoin. He went further to create an emoji for the online protesters.

Meet the Resistance

Despite the Federal Government announcement on the disbandment of SARS, the youths are still relentless on their protest as this isn’t the first time the Federal government have announced the abolishment of the police task force. The Nigerian youths curated a 5 point demand which initially was centred around “Release arrested protesters, compensate families of victims, investigate and prosecute all reports of misconduct, proscribe SARS and review the welfare of police be implemented immediately.”

The Inspector general of police, Mohammed Adamu in an enclosed meeting with the Presidential panel agreed to meet the demand of the #endsars protesters.

Many have gone ahead to call this a revolution. The youth have seen the power in which their population has over the government. They are now demanding more from the Federal government. These demands have evolved into what is now trending as #7for7. Their demand includes Institutional Reform of the police force, Constitution reform, Education reform, Health reform, Youth Affairs, Public office reform and Reduction in the cost of governance.

One week into the protest, over 20 millions of naira have been raised and donated by many celebrities, fintech and startup companies such as Adam Bradford, Scale My Hustle, Paystack, Flutterwave, MoneyAfrica, Piggyvest, Cowrywise, Female Coalition, emPawa Africa, etc. There has alsobeen food distribution, airtime/data distribution and public utilities to aid protest on the street and those online.

Furthermore, a helpline was created for those in need of food supplies, health care, legal and mental health emergencies

Female presidential aspirant, Oby Ezekwesili, Human and child right activists, Aisha Yesufu and the convener of the end SARS movement, Segun Awosanya have backed the Nigerian youths in their quest for a better Nigeria.

This is power! Nigerian youths are not stepping down any time soon

What started out as a demand for the end of Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) has now turned to a full-blown out demand for the reformation of every systemic level of governance in Nigeria.

Nigeria youth have tasted their power and there are resistant to the unaccountability of their government.

This protest is the beginning of a new revolution. Watch out for this space.

For more information about the ongoing protest, follow me on Twitter

Thank you.

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Believer| Finance Educator| Graphic Designer| Mental Health Advocate

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The Purple Writer

The Purple Writer

Believer| Finance Educator| Graphic Designer| Mental Health Advocate

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