Shock and Horrified are the words which best sum up how the the world and the people of Nigeria are feeling this week after the military fired directly at protestors sitting peacefully sitting the Nigerian anthem.
Despite the SARS unit being officially being dissolved on the 11th of October protests continued with people gathering at the Lekki toll gate to block an entrance to a major motor way On Tuesday 20th after a curfew had been imposed by the government in an attempt to curb protests. 2 hours after the curfew at about dusk trouble began as 20 armed men in army uniform turned up and fired at protestors sitting on the ground in darkness.
About 12 were shot dead instantly. Ambulance were turned back by the military men and hundreds of thousands of viewers on social media watched the events take place live as protestors tried to attend their bleeding bullet wounds.
Last Friday the Nigerian army issued a warning “subversive elements and trouble maker desist from protesting.” Has denied responsibility for the carnage that happened on Tuesday calling it “fake news”.
Many who were present at the scene believe the attack was premeditated. Witnesses say that just before sunset staff that work for the private company that manage the toll gate were seen removing CCTV from the area; believing that suspects wanted no evidence of the carnage. Luckily the protesters smart phones were able to transmit the murderous incident supplying the world with evidence and prompting a cry of outrage globally.
A growing number of celebrities are making pledge their support the #Endsars
Protests that have been taking place this month across Nigeria and London.
Joining in the list of celebrities is the Nigerian striker Odion Ighalo who in a tweet video called his country a shame to the world. The Nigerian national team player has won 35 captain for the squad and admitted the he was ashamed of the government and could no longer stay silent about the atrocities occurring in his home country.
“The Nigerian government, you guys are a shame to the world for killing your won citizens, sending military to the streets to kill unarmed protestors because they are protesting for their own rights?” – Odion Jude Ighalo
Rapper Kanye West also showed his solidarity to protestors earlier this week saying “the government must answer to the peoples cries”.
Boxer Anthony Joshua who is of British Nigerian decent said he was researching local hospitals to make donations of money and food packages to help support the ongoing cause.
“This was never a trend for me! It’s real life and I want to learn how to make lasting change,” – Anthony Joshua
“We don’t want your charity we want change”
The celebrity sentiments have not all been welcomed with some Nigerians responding to Beyonce’s promise to “provide emergency healthcare, food and shelter,” with:
“It’s change that we want not food” – unknown
“Keep your help and aid to yourself, I don’t need it and the dead definitely don’t,” – unknow
“All we needed was your platform to create awareness for the whole issue but you prefer to send us aid like the “poor” set of people we are.” – unknown
What the President had to Say
President Buhari urged protesters on Thursday to cease demonstrating and instead work with the government “in finding solutions”.
However nothing was mentioned about the protestors who had been filmed being shot in Lagos which has stirred outrage and globally criticism and condemnation of the Nigerian government. In his speech the president failed to acknowledge some of the significant requirements of the protesters which had further reinforced the feeling of lack of trust and disappointment with the present government amongst the youth of Nigeria.
The Feminist Voice
The Feminist Coalition has condemned “every form” of violence that had took place and is advising young Nigerians “to stay alive to pursue our dreams to build the future”.
“We are merchants of hope. Our priority is always the welfare and safety on the Nigerian youth,”
In addition, the group said “Following the president’s address, we hereby encourage all young Nigerians to stay safe, stay home, and obey mandated curfew in your state.” It will no longer be taking donations of money and will use the $400,000 (£306,000) to fund legal aid, hospitals bills and relief for the victims of police brutality.
There is no certainty to what is going to happen next with the #EndSARS movement. On the surface some of the demands have been met but if the organizers of this powerful movement can keep the energy amassed over this month it may be impossible to silence the passionate participators of this cause if justice and compensation is not served adequately to the victims and of police brutality.