#EndSARS: Nigeria Violence Grabs Attention Of Global Watchers, Who Are Calling For Police Forces To Cease Brutality

The call to allow demonstrators to have peaceful protests is growing louder among the Nigerian diaspora.

The violence in Nigeria, in which youth have been taking to the street to protest police brutality only to be met with more harsh measures from the government, has continued to intensify. Now there are calls for the international community to get involved. However, with the turmoil hitting several major cities, causing multiple deaths, many wonder when it will end.

For at least two weeks, young Nigerians have demonstrated against what they say are extrajudicial executions, extortion, intimidation, kidnapping, and harassment by a militarized police group called the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS). The protests have sparked a popular social media hashtag #EndSARS to create awareness of the situation.

According to the BBC, witnesses and the human rights organization Amnesty International have reported that multiple people were killed Tuesday (Oct. 20) in Nigeria’s largest city, Lagos during one uprising. Government officials dispute that claim, stating that about 25 people were wounded and one person was killed. Because there are conflicting stories, it is unclear how many may have been killed.

United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres condemned the violence that took place, also calling for police forces in Nigeria “to investigate these incidents and hold the perpetrators accountable.”

Meanwhile, Nigerian president Muhammadu Buhari has appealed for peace. In a video he shared on his Twitter account, he said that SARS has been disbanded and those responsible for police misconduct will be brought to justice.
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Among those calling for peace are watchers in the international community who feel that Buhari’s government is the problem and that the demonstrators are reacting to oppressive policies that have been incurred since the president took office in 2015.

“I myself was a victim of SARS’ inhumanity when I lived in Nigeria,” said Christian Ihenacho, executive director of the Nigerian-Americans United Political Action Committee, who told that his organization, as well as others, have been closely monitoring the protests and are in support of the demonstrators. “We’re calling on the government to cease and desist in this action of gunning people down in the streets.”

Ihenacho called the incident in Lagos, specifically in the Lekki area, which took place after a curfew was imposed by Lagos state governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, a “gross miscarriage of use of force.” His organization is not officially calling for the resignation of Buhari but noted that other people are because of their dissatisfaction with his administration.

“The reason people are calling for Buhari to step down is because he came in with the greatest support of the youth,” Ihenacho said. “We saw in 2015 that the man had the greatest support and we thought he’d do the right thing but since he came to power there’s been more unrest in the country.

“Not only that but if Nigeria were being governed well, I don’t think there would be any unrest, but conditions have gotten worse.”

He cited massive unemployment and poverty that still grips the country in addition to the deadly ongoing conflict between the semi-nomadic Fulani herdsmen and Nigerian farmers and continued violence involving Boko Haram in the nation’s northeast regions.

“It’s difficult now to say where we go from here,” Ihenacho said. “Other than to say we have to let this play out. The government should allow people to protest peacefully. In America, the Black Lives Matter protests have been largely peaceful. The government in Nigeria should allow the youth to have their voice.”
RELATED: Burna Boy, Jidenna, Diddy And More Show Solidarity For #ENDSARS Movement

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