Project Officer, Sharon Anyiam, explores the #ENDSARS movement in Nigeria. As a Nigerian Diaspora, Sharon delves into what international solidarity looks like to her, and reflects on how the current issues faced by many across Nigeria, could have easily been her reality.
It is important to address and strengthen our understanding of the global nature of the colonial legacies we seek to challenge, to offer solidarity and support when and where we can, and to share learning and resources within our immediate communities and beyond. We stand in strength and solidarity.
Find below our video to find our more about the ENDSARS movement:
“Just because I dey abroad, no be say injustice back home no dey concern me!”
Just because I am living abroad, does not mean injustice back home does not concern me
We can be thankful for the incredible mobilising potential of social media whilst simultaneously angered, saddened and left speechless at overwhelming bloodshed of African people. Various hashtags have flooded the internet regarding human rights violations in several African countries.
#EndSARS relating to police brutality in Nigeria has seen protesters take to the streets of Nigeria, and various cities in the UK, demanding the world notice and act on the ongoing violation of human rights in the country.
What is the ENDSARS movement?
SARS is Nigeria’s special anti-robbery squad. The unit was formed in 1984 under military rule and has been rife with corruption in forms of extortion, torture, sexual assault and murder.
The endsars movement, started by protesters in Nigeria and gaining prominence on social media platforms, calls for the end of police brutality, and importantly, better governance of the country. The protest have resulted in casualties with protesters in Nigeria being attacked by armed people and/or police firing tear gas into crowds of protesters.
Unsurprisingly, protestors have been blamed for the increasing violence, but it’s time for the Nigerian government to change this narrative and acknowledge its failure to protect Nigerian people from decades of corrupt governance and police violence. The continued bloodshed has to end! Protesters have a right to be heard without fear of death.
As a Nigerian diaspora, it’s difficult to not imagine how the current issues faced by many in the country, across Africa, could have easily been my reality. This movement, similar to the Black Lives Matter movement, has shown the possibilities of Black solidarity but it has specifically shone the spotlight on the role of the African diaspora in raising awareness of the sociopolitical issues on the African continent.
We cannot divorce our experiences of racism and oppression from colonialism, no more than can we divorce Africa’s longstanding sociopolitical issues from the remnants of being colonised. Thus, the goal for Black liberation is mutually entangled with the goal for African liberation. As many of us heard and responded to the calls for Black Lives Matter, it’s important we now hear and respond to the call of our African siblings in order for Black lives to matter everywhere.
#CongoIsBleeding relating to the silent holocaust in Congo where millions are losing their lives for Coltan
#ShutItAllDown – relating to protest against sexual and gender based violence in Namibia
#AmINext – relating to high rates and murder of women in South Africa
#AnglophoneCrisis – relating to the humanitarian crisis in Cameroon where anti-francophonisation activists and protesters are been jailed and beaten.
#RapeNationalEmergency – relating to the increase of rape by 50% during the pandemic against young women and children Liberia
#ChildTrafficking – relating to an increase in child labour and child trafficking from Burkina Faso and Mali to Ivory Coast and Ghana
#Arrestcovid19thieves- relating to embezzlement of COVID-19 support funds by elite and senior government officials in Kenya
As the protests continue, we must be mindful to not over share and overconsume some of the violence that we are seeing so we can protect and preserve our energy for the work that needs to be done.
For the diaspora of African heritage, and all who claim allyship, our role is to: educate ourselves on the various issues on the African continent; use our privileges and resources to amplify the voices and demands of these movements, whilst being mindful that we are not imposing our own solutions; and to engage with and support local and international BIPOC-led organisations doing the work to dismantle legacies of colonialism.