#ENDSARS, #ENDSWAT and Nigeria’s Role in the Global Fight for Black LivesOct 16, 2020 11:44AM ● By Nana Ama Addo
The world watches Nigeria as its youth leads a revolution. #ENDSWAT has now joined #ENDSARS, and is fueling a movement that seeks radical police reform that will stop the unprecedented killing, torturing, murdering, extorting, kidnapping and harrassing of Nigerian citizens.
For over a week, changemakers have been on the streets protesting the police brutality in the country, which has manifested as SARS, a Special Anti-Robbery Unit, also known as FSARS, or Federal Special Anti-Robbery Unit. For years, countless youth who lived to tell the tale and family members of the deceased took to social media to share their experiences of abuse at the hands of SARS officials.
This protest moved to the streets after a video of SARS killing a man surfaced online. This international outcry was evidenced by #ENDSARS protests around the globe, including in the United States, Canada, England, Germany, South Africa and more. International personalities like Wizkid, Burma Boy, Kanye West, Kirk Franklin and others have spoken out in support of protestors, urging for a positive change.
Amnesty International has recorded 82 cases of police misconduct in Nigeria since 2017, a number that may pale in comparison to the unreported crimes against humanity. As this protest feeds the fire of change in Black youth around the world, many empowerment groups send affirmation, energy and support to this movement, including the international Black Lives Matter community and FunTimes Magazine.
(Henry Joe, Lagos, Nigeria)
Henry Joe in Lagos shares his experience on the ground:
“I have had different clashes with FSARS and police brutality in Lagos, Nigeria, and my opinion is that the FSARS should cease to exist and not to be reformed.
The reason for this protest is to put an end to a menace in our country or #ENDSARS and police brutality. The look of things on the protest was really positive ... the spirit and beliefs of the people are so overwhelming, and from the look of things, our voices really went far in the protest.
The protest is bringing lots of changes and reactions. Not just in Nigeria but beyond as well.
My message, not just to Blacks alone but to everyone, is never to relent on their efforts to bring change to humanity. Change doesn’t have to be violent. Today made me realize that we truly have a voice. And to all everyone out there, you have a voice, and together, victory is sure. Together we will bring an #END TO SARS AND POLICE BRUTALITY.
May God help us all and may God bless the federal republic of Nigeria.”
The #ENDSARS team presented 5 demands to the Nigerian government, known as the #5for5, which includes:
- Immediate release of all arrested protestors
- Justice for all deceased victims of police brutality and appropriate compensation for their families
- Setting up an independent body to oversee investigation and prosecution of all reports of police misconduct (Within 10 days)
- In line with the New Police Act, psychological violation and retraining (to be confirmed by an independent body) of all disbanded SARS officers before they can be redeployed
- An increase in police salary so that they are adequately compensated for protecting lives and property of citizens
It was announced on Sunday, October 11th, that SARS was banned. SWAT, Special Weapons and Tactics, will replace SARS. Unfortunately, this could mean the same injustice will exist under a new name. Now, the #ENDSWAT campaign has started, and protests continue. Despite facing tear gas, beatings and more at the hands of Nigerian police, protesters are determined. Nigeria exemplifies the fervor for progress that boils in the blood of African youth, and illustrates the interconnectedness of the global fight for Black Lives, from Minneapolis to Kentucky, Namibia and Lagos. FunTimes stands in solidarity with the #ENDSARS and #ENDSWAT movement. Stay up to date with happenings by using the #ENDSARS and #ENDSWAT hashtag on social media platforms.
*Photos courtesy of Henry Joe.
Nana Ama Addo is a writer, multimedia strategist, film director and performance artist. She graduated with a BA in Africana Studies from the College of Wooster, and studied at the University of Ghana and Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology. Visit her storytelling brand at www.asieduasimprint.blog, and connect with her creative agency on Instagram: @chitheagency.