On the 8th of October, 2020, Nigerian youths decided that they had had enough of the deleterious activities of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) in particular, and police brutality in general. So, in a move directed at getting the attention of the presidency and the police hierarchy, they took to the streets of Lagos and blocked major roads in the city as they called for the disbandment of the errant unit of the police force.
Read more about #EndSARS
As the protest spread to other parts of the country, the demands of the youths increased. It is now obvious that they want a different kind of change, not the one promised by the APC led government. The protest has continued to gain momentum despite the attack on the protesters by hoodlums, the operatives of SARS and the police, as well as the efforts of the government to quell it.
What is more, the protesters have acquired global attention; they also have local and international funding which they have been utilizing effectively in the management of the protest. The following beautiful developments have been recorded since the beginning of the protest. I hope you find time to read about them and to share your thoughts with us.
On Saturday, the 17th of October, 2020, a candlelight vigil was held in Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcourt in honour of all those who were murdered by the operatives of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) and the police. Prayers were said at the various location of the vigil. It was a beautifully solemn event. Those were not physically present at the event took to social media to show their unity with the cause. They shared the names of the fallen brethren. They also shared videos of the candlelight procession as well as prayers and promises to keep fighting until justice is won.
The Launch of Soro Soke Radio
The protesters added a feather to their cap when they launched an online radio, Soro Soke. The name, “Soro Soke,” a Yoruba phrase that means “Speak Up” was aptly chosen as a call to Nigerians to speak up against police brutality, corruption, and bad governance. It is envisaged that this radio would be a medium for effective dissemination of information regarding the protests. It would also facilitate the coordination of the #EndSARS protests nationwide.
Utilization of New Technology
The #EndSARS protest has given the youths the opportunity to show that they are the digital generation. They have skillfully utilized modern technological tools to brainstorm, disperse information and pressure government. Crowdfunding has also been employed by the youths to provide healthcare, food, and water to protesters. Thus, if you have ever doubted that technology is power, all you need do is look at what the #EndSARS protesters have achieved within such a short space of time.
One thing that the #EndSARS protest has showcased is the level of coordination amongst the youths. Without being told or paid to do so, they cleaned up after the protests. The message the youths are sending with this is that they are not only environmentally conscious but they can behave themselves if the system is working.
Sign up to the Connect Nigeria daily newsletter
Provision of Mobile Toilets
During protests, little things like the provision of convenience can enhance sustainability. The youths understand this and so have provided mobile toilets at protest grounds.
Fundraising for Prosthesis
When Jane, a young lady with a disability, took the bold step of joining the protest, all she probably thought of was showing solidarity for the cause. I’m pretty sure she never imagined that it would be a life-altering experience for her. But that courageous move brought her to the attention of Nonso Egemba, a medical professional popularly known as Aproko Doctor. He championed a fundraiser for the purchase of a prosthetic leg for Jane.
The initial budget of five hundred thousand naira was realized in 30 minutes and when the budget expanded to include starting a business for her, over 4 million naira was realized in 24 hours. But the story did not end here oh! A team of doctors offered to assemble the prostheses for free.
Also, Charles Nnamani, another protester with the same challenge would benefit from the donations made for Jane. This display of empathy and generosity by the #EndSARS protesters and their supporters both at home and in the diaspora is most commendable.
Provision of Charging Spots for Mobile Devices
With the #EndSARS protest, the so-called “lazy” Nigerian youths have proven that they are strategic thinkers. They are observant, reflective, and proactive. The provision of solar-powered charging spots that allow protesters to charge their mobile devices while at protest ground proves this.
The #EndSARS protesters have been attacked by hoodlums at different times. These attacks prompted the youths to deploy private security personnel to protect themselves against these attacks.
This decision of the protesters to take matters of security into their own hands proves that the government has failed once again to protect the lives of its citizens. It also reflects the Igbo saying, onye ndi ilo gbalu gbulu gbulu na eche onwe ya nche oge n’ine which means that one who’s surrounded by enemies must be vigilant at all times.
In conclusion, my people, these are some of the beautiful developments that have come out of the #EndSARS protest. In fact, when I think of all the youths have achieved, I smile because they are living out the Igbo saying, enenie nwa ite, ogbonyuo oku which means that the underestimating little things can have grave consequences.
The Cable NG
Premium Times Online
Featured Image Source: Techpont Africa
Got a suggestion? Contact us: editor at connectnigeria dot com