The EndSARS movement From Nigeria to the UK

This is a collaboration piece about the EndSars Nigerian movement written by two Nigerians living in different parts of the world. Adeite is based in Lagos, whilst Ibukun is based in London.  

In the past few weeks, thousands of Nigerians both in the Diaspora & Nigeria, protested to EndSARS. SARS is/was the Nigerian Special Anti-Robbery Squad that terrorized and killed the very citizens it was formed to protect.

In Nigeria: a fictional account

Born and raised in Lagos, the commercial capital of Nigeria, Chinedu thinks that every Nigerian deserves to make heaven because they have endured hell on earth. He also feels that living in Lagos is an extreme sport, having had a fair share of harassment, extortion and brutality by different security agents on the streets of Lagos, coupled with the risk of surviving as a peddler in Lagos traffic. Chinedu does business with Nigerians of all tribes and relates with everyone amicably. He loves his nation despite its many woes.

He is an industrious young man who has grown from being a shop boy to a business owner and employer of labour. Chinedu wonders how the most populous black nation in the world, blessed with human and natural resources still prides itself as the poverty capital of the world. At the same time, its politicians are the highest paid in the world.

As the EndSars movement begins to gather momentum, Chinedu sees it as a platform to create the positive changes he had always wanted to see in his beloved country.  He is glad to join the protest to speak truth to power on the need to end the prevailing terrible governance and police brutality.

Chinedu plays a significant role in the protest, he is seen at strategic locations with two big flags (The Nigerian flag and a white flag with EndSARS boldly written on it) attached to a pole. He makes sure he is at every protest ground across Lagos.

On the twentieth of October 2020, he joins the peaceful protesters at Lekki tollgate to defy the curfew imposed by the government and continue to protest peacefully. At about 3 PM, He watches in shock as the CCTV cameras are removed from Lekki toll gate, and all surrounding lights are switched off.

Chinedu can’t believe his eyes when soldiers arrive and start shooting sporadically. He gets hit by a bullet on his left leg and passes out. Later, he wakes up to find himself on a hospital bed where he sees on the news that his business centre at Lekki has been burnt down.

Adeite

The EndSARS movement in Nigeria summary

Photo by Tosin James on Pexels.com

Nigeria seems to have taken everything from Chinedu when all he wanted was a nation where peace, justice, and prosperity reigns.  In his critical condition, questions begin to flood his mind. Why would a government that asked for dialogue and declared a curfew, send military men to open fire on peaceful protesters?  Why would they then go ahead to openly deny the cruel crime? Why was the protest very peaceful, without any form of arson, looting and vandalism until the night of 20:10:20?  How did Nigeria get to a point where thugs were transported in SUVs without plate numbers to disrupt a peaceful protest? After this, what next?

Chinedu will later be discharged and taken to a safe house, but for a long time, he will be haunted by the shadows of displeasure and disappointment.

The younger generation’s perspective

Like Chinedu, several young Nigerians think that a new Nigeria is rising, and it is only a matter of time for the delivery to take place.

Young Nigerians used the EndSARS protest not just make their voices heard, but to also give the leaders a crash course on the 21st-century leadership skills.

The question the older generation should ask is, why would a government clamp down on young people who championed a cause to ask for good governance and better policing in the wake of incessant police brutality?

EndSARS was a highly organized protest

I have never seen a protest so organized like the #EndSars in Nigeria.  For instance, 

  • Funds were raised and accounted for daily.
  • Proper provisions were made food, medical aid, legal aid, and private security.
  • An online radio station was launched to increase awareness all over the world.

All of this happened within two weeks, without constituting any committee.  This has also given the average Nigerian youths a better hope for the future of the nation.

The repercussions of protesting in Nigeria

Reports have it that the bank accounts of those who coordinated the protest have been frozen by the Central Bank of Nigeria. For example, one of the protest promoters, Modupe Odele, was prevented from travelling abroad and got her passport seized.

In London: a fictional account

Foluke, born and raised in London, has always been proud of her Nigerian roots and enjoys listening and dancing to afro-beats.  She swears that Nigerian jollof rice is the best in all of West Africa. She cares little about Nigerian politics and gets bored when her father rants about the corruption that is holding it back.  

Then, her attitude towards Nigerian politics changes. She has been closely following the Nigeria EndSARS movement on social media, shedding tears as she scrolls through videos of Nigerian police maltreating its citizens. In one video, a police officer pulls a young man out of his brand-new Jeep and subjects him to a thorough beating. 

As if that is not enough, on the twentieth of October 2020, members of the Nigerian Armed forces, shoot at peaceful protesters at the Lekki toll gate in Lagos.  That night, she cannot sleep.  

The next day, she joins the EndSARS protest outside the Nigerian Commission House in London. On the placard she holds, it reads, ‘End Bad Governance in Nigeria and put an End to SARS, once and for all!’

Later that week, she posts a rant on her Instagram page about the lack of governance and proper leadership in Nigeria, making specific references to a guilty-looking stuttering Lagos governor.

She joins her dad in the living room and watches the TV as a BBC reporter skirts over the ongoing civil unrest in Nigeria. ‘What kind of nonsense is this’ her father bellows flailing his arms about, ‘Why did they go and protest and defy the curfew.’  Foluke glares at her father, ‘but dad, why wouldn’t they? Look at what they have had to put up with?’ ‘Eh-he and so?’ His thick Nigerian accent has remained intact even though he has lived in London for over thirty years.  ‘Do you know what we saw in our own time? Those people that went out to protest were all killed, and those who killed them were promoted to army generals. People living in Nigeria should just be praying rather than to go out and protest, it is not safe to do so – not in that country!’

Foluke cannot blame her dad for his views. In fact, a large chunk of the older generation feels this way because they have witnessed worse massacres during the Biafra civil war.

Ibukun

The EndSARS movement in London summary

Photo by ghgossip.com

Like Foluke, I was severely traumatised by the grotesque images and videos I viewed via social media.

As a Nigerian, born and raised in London, I have witnessed first-hand the changing mindsets of the people around me. I must confess, I am one of them. Before the EndSARS movement, many of us did not have much to say about Nigerian politics, now we do.

The younger generation’s perspective

At the protests in London, young people were the ones sharing, and posting and using their social media platforms to broadcast publicize the EndSARS movement.

An article by The Independent also encouraged people to donate to #EndSARS protest organizers and to write a letter to the local MP in the UK. The letter’s intent was to put pressure on the UK Government to condemn the actions of the Nigerian government in ordering armed soldiers to shoot at peaceful protestors.  

A few of my friends wrote this letter and are still fighting for justice in one form or another today.  We sign petitions and educate ourselves on what is going in Nigeria today.  We have our ear to the ground and will continue to do our part. The EndSARS movement has enraged us all, and we are all now asking ourselves what we can do to help our Nigerian based compatriots.

The older generation’s perspective  

‘Foluke cannot blame her dad for his views. In fact, a large chunk of the older generation feels this way because they have witnessed worse massacres during the Biafran civil war.’

The older generation is deeply passionate about the state of Nigeria. They discourage young people from going to protest and see it as a form of making trouble.

After reading the Nigerian account it is clear that both the older generation in Nigeria and the UK have a similar approach on how they deal with the corrupt Nigerian leadership.

I would implore anyone who has Nigerian parents over the age of sixty to start asking them the hard questions about what happened in the past. Right from the Biafran war, we need to know so that we can form well-rounded views.  We need to read up about the political parties too.

Calling all my Nigerian friends in the UK 

Unfortunately, I have no right to vote in Nigeria as I have never lived there.  But for those of you who can, this is an appeal for you to try to perform your civic duty as a Nigerian. I understand that not all Nigerians that fit into this bracket can physically do this.  However, Nigerians that flit back and forth from the UK to Nigeria – living in each location for months at a time would be more equipped for voting in Nigeria. Kudos to those who are already doing so. 

So, for Nigerians who do have the right to vote, and can physically be there (subject to being able to return to the UK afterwards), why not make it a point to vote in the upcoming Nigeria 2023 election?

23 thoughts on “The EndSARS movement From Nigeria to the UK

  1. I love the stories said from both sides. I love how connected it is to what happened and the fact that noth resident Nigerians and those in diaspora can relate to this event. It was the time when all of us came together to have one voice. May we continue to connect together as we collect more voices until we become a force to be reckoned with. Amen!

    Liked by 2 people

      1. You are right Ope, I believe that real revolution and restoration can only be achieved by a generation that values the principles of integration, aggregation and penetration over competition and recognition.

        The EndSars protest was a litmus test of the power of a united people over bad leadership and oppression. I am particularly amazed at how Nigerians used every ‘weapon’ at their disposal to shake the people in power. They didn’t see it coming.

        The momentum gathered during the protest may have dwindled but the EndSars movement is like a seed, no matter how much the government tries to bury it, it will break forth and bloom. I see it becoming a force of change that will serve as a reference point for a new Nigeria.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Nice write up Adeleke Adeite and Ibukun Sodipe . I love the narration of the write up using story to illustrate the scenario during the EndSars Protest

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I wasn’t to sure where to place my comment. I eventually finished reading the two fictional accounts and the information about the End SARS movement after much disturbances in between. I really appreciate the collaboration and a necessary write and narrative at this time in Nigeria. I couldn’t at first believe that it’s people in their sixties that are seen as the ones that are holding back in the development. Just the other day when I was reading about the plans for the Stephen Lawrence day planned for next year in the UK together with Quincy Floyd my mind I was thinking of the 17 year old girl who was tortured in Kaduna for protesting in the movement against the brutality of SARs and who will be writing her narrative as a heroine of the movement or if she will go down in this history as the forgotten. Her killing reminded me of Hector Petersen in 1976, whose name became synonymous with the Soweto Uprising and in many ways this is how the movement was kept alive for change.
    This is the moment now for the civics to rise and grow in all sectors of society, the bread and butter issues, housing, schools, roads, lighting up Nigeria, all these issure in my country gave rise to movements that brought about change. Racism may have been the rallying point but civil society grew and grew and pushed for change. These structures are so important. I was so impressed with the crowdfunding for end Sars through bitcoin. So very impressed. Civil movements can now be supported in a variety of ways.
    Thank you for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for your comment. Yes, alot has been going on over the years and this year has been a crazy one indeed. A year where we have seen so many injustices from US in the killing of George Floyed to EndSARS and the killings that resulted in those protests. There is still a lot of work to be done with the petitions and funding that us Nigerians in the diaspora should continue doing. Nigerians in Nigeria are so very tired of this. Now is the time to continue in unity.

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      1. I would reverently declare that it is a momentous time in the history of Nigeria. Yes she has seen and been afflicted with the most brutal forms of violence and stringent laws imposed upon her. I sometimes wonder how she still smiles so beautifully and how she has risen creatively and passionately employed her soul into the arts and her music. Nigeria has given the world much and in a variety of forms we appreciate her. But apartheid is a terrible monster, it doesn’t only lay waiting and concealed in the ocean of colour. Apartheid is a divisive mechanism that is employed by the powerful as long as it meet the interest of its kind. This kind could be the wealth gap, tribalism and fundamentalism. Party politics can be a hideous game because it can conceal the real bread and butter issues. Every fabulous home in Nigeria looks like a model out of the book of an architect in Texas, but the roads, clinics, schools, libraries, sewerage and sanitation for the masses tells a whole different story. From which manual did they she copy that? Life is skewed. Ambassadors for a cause come through the ranks and my prayer is that the organs of civil society grow and flourish in Nigeria and SARS could be the catchment for community development with the support of the diaspora. People waging a struggle inside the country grow tired and weary because daily they have to face the grindstone. Nigerians in tge diaspora are rich, they are wealthy. Not so long ago i read of a wealthy Nigerian man who hired out his yacht to Jayzee and Beyoncé to take a luxury cruise. This is mind-blowing and but one examples. Who knows of the treasure pot of possible remittance lying beneath. Nigerians have access to oil they pumped. South Africans mined gold and diamonds during the anti-apartheid struggle but it would be an exception if one of those miners handled it on the open market or in trade. Surely, surely now is the time to build and invest in the structures that would bring change into the lives of ordinary Nigerians. Charity truly begins at home. You can’t be healthy, it is an illusion, you can’t be well if the mother, the homeland is dying.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. As West Imperialist countries and their local fascist collaboraters keep on exploiting the African peoples, the organizations like EndSars will keep standing against them, will fight. Revolutionist movements can’t be stopped by shooting. Kudos youngsters.
    Thanks, ibukun sodipe and Adeleke Adeite.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. It was descriptively and heartfully written. I felt really sad about what happened in your country. Just always remember that God will always be at your side. And everything happens for a reason. Keep safe Adeleke and Ibukun. Keep on writing and inspiring your readers. God bless you always 🙏

    Liked by 2 people

  6. I’m so glad I came across this. My dad has always been against the protests, said that within two weeks, the government will shut us up. I thought he didn’t know what he was saying, but then, Lekki massacre happened.

    I understood his pov then and only then. My dad had to fight during the Biafran war at only twelve years old. My aunt was a nurse at eighteen and she had seen dead bodies, way before then. She’s over seventy now. I regret questioning their generation right now. They’ve lost hope. They did their best and the country broke them in return.

    But we can’t lose our hope. We can’t become like them. Come 2023, I pray to God that that fire gets rekindled again… Even tho INEC is a joke, let’s perform our Civic rights. Let’s start from there.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. EndSars is not just a movement, it’s a string statement that will echo for many generations. The government successful buried a seed thinking that they have silenced the voice of a reason.

      2023 is not the real solution. This current structure (constitution) is wired to frustrate accountability, fairness, equity, justice and prosperity.

      We need to keep speaking up…

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Performing civic rights is crucial for Nigeria. I have a feeling a vacuum exists, and that organs of civil society is sorely wanting and that they are almost non-existent besides the church. In South Africa we had various umbrella organisations that housed civil society, the United Democratic Front being one. In fact most countries housing democracy started out like that which sprung from a broad based movement like the anti-SARS movement in Nigeria, and now it needs to be galvanised into project and programmes, that include all sectors of society, – foundations, feeding schemes, skills projects, capacity-building programmes, the arts, music projects, early learning development projects, writing the history of the movement, giving a face to the fallen, literacy and numeracy projects….that’s the movement….

    Liked by 1 person

  8. May we love long – is a wall of remembrance, an aspiration, a ripped out heart calling for justice, it is a wailing wall, a place of prayer, a gathering place. Right at lekki tollgate.

    May we live long is a major project, with the faces of the fallen, names engraved on the wall. It is a rallying point, it is evocative, gathering stakeholders for may we live long bringing men and women from all walks of life to bring into fruition against all odds is a major unifying point from which many other projects can grow.

    Liked by 2 people

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