The Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) is a unit that was set up by the Nigerian police in 1992 after a bloody war between the Nigerian Army and the Nigerian Police that gave robbers ample opportunities to terrorize the people. The unit was to truncate those robberies – and other possible ones – but along the way, its officers lost this vision. Now, the SARS is unequivocally synonymous to the evil it was set up to protect Nigerians from.
The EndSARS hashtag first gained traction in 2017 when many Nigerian youth took to social media platforms to recant their experiences, often traumatic, with SARS officials across the country. But it wasn’t until Thursday, October 8th, 2020 that the protests took to the streets of Nigerian cities. In the time since the protest began, the Nigerian police have killed more than 15 people in response but in a staggering show of determination, the youths are forging ahead, mobilizing resources including medical and legal aid, food and counselling supports through donations, to sustain the protests.
As most of us aren’t on the ground in Nigerian cities, there are many online resources that have kept us up to date on the goings-on of the protests. They are all accessible and are verified sources of information to better understand the movement and stay appraised.
- Feminist Coalition: The feminist coalition was set up in July 2020 when Damilola Odufuwa and Odunayo Eweniyi decided to create a platform for feminist Nigeran women. They contacted other notable women like Layo Ogunbanwo, Ozzy Etomi, Ire Aderinokun, Fakhrriyyah Hashim, Oluwaseun Ayodeji Osowobi, Jola Ayeye, Laila Johnson-Salalmi, Obiageli Ofili Alintah, Tito Ovia, Kiki Mordi and Isioma Idigbe. In the time since the protests began, this coalition has raised a total of NGN 74,727,649.13 and disbursed NGN 40,117,63 for mobilization of the aforementioned resources. Links to donate as well as on-the-go information can be found on their website.
- Zikoko EndSARS movement stack: Zikoko is a digital magazine that aims to amplify the voice of the African youth. In April 2019, they created the EndSARS Movement stack where they’ve been sharing information surrounding the SARS protests and police brutality in Nigeria. They have a wide variety of perspectives on the EndSARS movement that will prove useful for readers looking to better understand the situation.
- EndSARS: As stated earlier, many Nigerians have shared their SARS experiences on social media for about three years now. So to keep these gruesome stories from being lost beneath the ever-shifting attention of social media, a EndSARS website was set up. On the website, you can find personal SARS accounts from Nigerians living across the country. Remember to keep the triggers in mind but these accounts are necessary to understand the gravity of the situation.
- The Republic: The Republic is another digital and print magazine whose mission is to create knowledge. Following the protests, their contributors have written educative and informative pieces like The Dissolution of SARS, What is #EndSARS and this brilliant article relating the protests to Fela Kuti’s struggle with police brutality.
- I Said What I Said #EndSARS episode: I Said What I Said is a podcast run by two of the front liners of the movement, Jola Ayeye and FK Abudu. In this episode, they spoke with Folarin Falana a.k.a Falz, a rapper and lawyer, who is passionate about social justice and has also been at the protests’ frontlines. This episode is quite emotional and will also give a better sense of what Nigerians have passed through in the hands of this rogue police unit.
- The ENDSARS Hashtags: The hashtag started on the streets of twitter and it is a prominent tool that has aided the spread of information; and has facilitated the release of arrested protesters and deployment of needed medical aids. Many other front liners like activist Aisha Yesufu also share vital information using this hashtag. Hence, the hashtag is undoubtedly another source of information on the movement, but care is needed as fake information can also be circulated under the hashtag.
- Black Tuesday Google Drive: As at the time of writing this, the Nigerian army was deployed to some locations in Lagos, a Nigerian state, after the governor declared a 24-hour curfew to start by 4pm, around 11:49am on Tuesday the 20th. After sundown, the Nigerian army opened fire on peaceful protesters who were waving the Nigerian flags and singing anthems. Many of the eyewitnesses went live on Instagram to share their experiences and this google drive was setup to keep this “evidence” safe should the Nigerian government deny the incidents. Many of the videos and images are triggering but they are vital in understanding the present state of Nigeria.
Conclusively, it is important to note that there are more reliable resources out there on the #EndSARS movement, but I hope that the ones I’ve highlighted set the protests into context. So, after gathering the necessary knowledge, I implore you to act; be it through donations, social media amplification or by lending your skills. Nigeria is home to the largest population of Black lives in the world and their lives matter too. #EndSARS and #StopPoliceBrutalityinNigeria.