Home / World / Nigeria ends SARS protests: Kanye West and other stars speak out against police brutality

Nigeria ends SARS protests: Kanye West and other stars speak out against police brutality



“I am with my Nigerian brothers and sisters to end police brutality, the government must respond to people’s cries #EndPoliceBrutalityinNigeria,” tweeted West on Monday.

Celebrities included the singer Trey Songz (real name Tremaine Aldon Neverson), former professional footballer Rio Ferdinand and the “Star Wars” actor John Boyega they are also among those showing support for those protesting the dissolution of a controversial police unit in the West African nation.
The protests in cities across Nigeria came after weeks of online protests by young people across the country over allegations of kidnapping, harassment and extortion by a police unit known as the Special Anti Robbery Squad (SARS). Demonstrations continued after the inspector general of police announced on Sunday that the unit was in the process of disbandment and that its officers had been reassigned.

Using the #EndSARS hashtag on social media, international celebrities have joined Nigerians in the campaign to end police brutality in all its forms.

“Police brutality here in America is often a race-driven abuse of power. Being brutalized, extorted and murdered by your own people is unimaginable. Prayers up and I am looking for ways to help. #EndSARS,”
; Trey Songz tweeted Saturday.
Similarly, American gospel singer Kirk Franklin, using a photo of one of the Nigerian protesters, spread a message of support on Instagram: “For over 20 years, Nigeria has been with me, now I’m with you. #Endsarsnow” .

Protests of the diaspora

Over the weekend, the Nigerian diaspora community also organized protests in solidarity with their counterparts back home.

Sunday, #EndSARS the protests took place in Canada, England, Germany and the United States.

Fakhriyyah Hashim, one of the protesters in London, told CNN that the purpose of the protest was to encourage the diaspora community in England to financially support protesters in Nigeria so that they can continue their protests.

Afrobeat stars Wizkid (real name Ayodeji Balogun) and Mr Eazi (real name Oluwatosin Ajibade) also attended the London protest.

Mr. Eazi, addressing the crowd with a microphone, said he was personally stopped and harassed by SARS agents. “None of us are safe if we continue to be in the comfort of our homes allowing people to talk and say it doesn’t concern them,” he said in the video seen on CNN.

Similarly, protesters gathered on Sunday and Monday chanting “End SARS” on Queen Street in Toronto, Canada.

The blessing from Timidi Digha, one of the protesters who was present on both days, told CNN that the protesters’ demands included justice for those brutalized by the police unit, police reform and an end to all forms. of police brutality.

“We were hoping to share our personal experiences in the hands of SARS and the police, to join our colleagues back home in demanding the dignity of Nigerian life,” Digha said.

Lagos state spokesperson Muyiwa Adejobi said all complaints against its officers are being carefully examined and appropriate sanctions are applied to offenders. Adejobi added that many people do not report abuse because they fear they will not get justice. He encouraged people affected by police misconduct to report him.

Dissolution of SARS

As protests were underway in various parts of the world on Sunday, Nigeria’s Inspector General of Police Mohammed Abubakar Adamu announced that SARS would be dissolved.

But protests continued Monday in Lagos, Abuja and Kwara, with Nigerian youths saying they would continue to take to the streets until the entire police force was reformed.

“This is just the beginning !! We have won our battle for #ENDSARS .. now Reform the Nigerian police !! #Endpolice brutality! We deserve a good government! #Endpolicebrutality,” Wizkid tweeted on Sunday.

Ayobami Akinbo, who participated in the protests in the Nigerian capital Abuja, agrees. “It’s not enough to end that unit and redistribute it to other places,” he told CNN. “What we want is for the unit to end and for an investigation into the conduct of the SARS unit to be conducted.”

Akinbo added that agents should be trained on how to interact with citizens to minimize the brutality they inflict on people.

Contact Nigerians in a video on MondayPresident Muhammadu Buhari said the dissolution of SARS “is only the first step in our commitment to comprehensive police reform”.
He added that any police officer responsible for wrongdoing would be brought to justice.




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