How to Help the #EndSARS Movement
The world is a witness to the injustices that are being carried out by the Nigerian government against its citizens. In the wake of the #EndSARS movement, many have been made aware of the brutality Nigerians have long faced at the hands of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS). Since the protests began they have dominated social media feeds all over the world, amplified by celebrities and everyday people alike. While Nigeria committed to dissolving the controversial police unit SARS, the government’s actions toward protestors have sent an entirely different message.
Photo: Demonstrators gesture during protest in Lagos, Oct. 14 (Temilade Adelaja/Reuters)
In Lagos, soldiers opened fire on a peaceful demonstration with no warning. In the early evening on Tuesday, protesters said streetlights suddenly went out in the Lekki toll gate plaza. The crowd was in the middle of singing the national anthem when Nigerian security forces approached and opened fire according to witnesses and human rights groups, resulting in the #LekkiMassacre. At least 12 people died according to a count by Amnesty International, and hundreds more were wounded. The killings took place in both Lekki and Alausa where thousands were protesting police brutality. Amnesty International received reports that shortly before the shootings, CCTV cameras at Lekki toll gate, where protestors had been camped for two weeks, were removed by government officials and the electricity was cut in a clear attempt to hide evidence.
Diaspora and the larger international community have gathered in various ways to show support and solidarity with Nigeria. Protests have been taking place in major cities from Los Angeles to New York to London, and Paris to name a few. Many in the diaspora have taken to the streets to show their solidarity, bring awareness, and make their demands for justice known. Some have expressed their pride in the Nigerian youth for making their voices heard and taking a stand against the injustice that has plagued the country. Chigoziri Ikeme, a fashion industry professional, described the protests in Los Angeles as having a powerful energy with great support. “There was an immense feeling of empathy and solidarity among the protesters,” Ikeme told Amplify Africa. “Even though some of us may have not experienced SARS brutality firsthand, we rallied and protested as if we had.”
So What Can We Do?
In addition to protests, petitions have been set up, and there are various ways to donate to protestors on the ground in Nigeria. As African diaspora, we have a responsibility to stand in solidarity and stand in the face of injustice. Though we may be thousands of miles away from the motherland, there are practical ways to still lend support. “The easiest way to support is to spread the news while educating yourself on the problem and the history,” Ifeoma Bosah told Amplify Africa. Bosah, a full time university student, explained that #EndSARS is one product of the global struggle faced by Black people. “This is not an individual problem, the parallels between the #EndSARS movement and #BlackLivesMatter movement are not coincidental. The more we learn and teach one another about how this is a Black struggle, the further we all can go.”
There are many resources to learn about SARS and what has been going in Nigeria. EndSARS.card.co is a great website to begin to learn about the movement and find resources as well as where to donate. Below are a list of Instagram handles to check out and follow.
The Feminist Coalition is one of the lead organizers in the #EndSARS movement. The organization has collected donations and dispersed them to protestors on the ground. Currently, they have advised young Nigerians to stay safe and observe mandated curfews in their state. Stay up to date with updates happing on the ground, upcoming protests, and ways to help.
Speak Now Africa is another community organization page that provides information about the protest against police brutality and ways to help. Currently they have a link posted in their bio for email blueprints to send to the ICC (International Criminal Court) to bring awareness of the human rights abuses taking place in Nigeria daily.
End SARS in Diaspora is an Austrian based page dedicated to supporting those in Nigeria from abroad. The page posts daily updates and information for those in Europe and beyond including lists of protests to attend.
If you aren’t already follow us on Instagram for updates on how to help and contribute. Amplify Africa in partnership with @afropolitangroup has set up a fund you can donate to, to provide supplies, medical attention, food, water and other materials.
As previously mentioned, one of the best ways to support is to amplify the voices of those on the ground. Share images and videos on your platform, have conversations, and if you can attend a protest near you. Keep sharing information and bring awareness to the injustices that are taking place. Send emails to the ICC and tag prominent news organizations to help bring awareness and accountability to the violations of human rights.
As of October 22, 2020 The Feminist Coalition announced that they are no longer collecting donations and provided the following summary of the total funds they received and disbursed (in Naira) over the past 14 days:
Total received = ₦147,855,788.28 (includes donations in USD, CAD, GDP, EUR, GHS, KES, and BTC)
Total disbursed = ₦60,403,235.00
Total left = ₦87,452,553.28
You can purchase t-shirts here to help support protestors on the ground.
No matter what you choose to do, the important thing is that you do something. No matter the distance there is always a way to help, and various ways to choose from. More than just a hashtag, “this greatly affects the lives of the youth and Nigeria’s future,” said Ikeme. “Deep government reform must take place and people in power must be held accountable for their actions.” Even if all you can do is repost an info graphic regarding SARS it can still help according to Ikeme. “Anything is better than silence.”