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People hold banners as they demonstrate on the street to protest against police brutality in Lagos, Nigeria, Thursday Oct. 15, 2020. Protests against Nigeria's police continued to rock the country for the eighth straight day Thursday as demonstrators marched through the streets of major cities, blocking traffic and disrupting business.
AP Photo/Sunday Alamba
Citizenship

4 Beautiful Acts of Kindness During the #EndSARS Protests in Nigeria


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The #EndSARS protests in Nigeria have now taken a mostly digital form after 11 days of physical protests that swept across the country. While the protests originally started as a movement against police brutality, they have now expanded into broader demands for institutional reforms in Nigeria.

While the peaceful protests on the streets of Nigeria were disrupted by thugs in certain areas and many lives have been lost to police brutality, many incredibly positive incidents were also a prominent feature of the protests. 

Some of these positive developments include: the creation of a website for victims of police brutality to tell their stories; feeding and sharing of protest resources; live reportage of the protests; production of anti-teargas spray for protesters; fundraising to support protest efforts; and legal representation of arrested protesters.

Some unique acts of kindness also stood out amid the protests and showed just how supportive we can all be when we take pride in our shared humanity:

1. Money was raised to get prosthetics for two protesters

After one protester tweeted a picture of Jane Obiene at the Abuja #EndSARS protest on Oct. 17, a Nigerian social media influencer and doctor Chinonso Egemba (aka “Aproko Doctor”) launched a fundraising effort on Twitter to get her a prosthetic leg. 

The campaign raised more than N7.5 million (over $18,000) in less than 48 hours — more than 500% of its original N1.5 million (~$4,000) goal. 

Egemba also tweeted that another protester with disabilities, Charles Nnaman, who alleged that officers of the Nigerian police had broken his prostheses, would also be a beneficiary of the fundraising effort. 

2. Protesters paid to refurbish one man’s car

After suspected state-sponsored thugs disrupted the peaceful protests and attacked people in Abuja on Oct. 14, social media was filled with multiple reports and eyewitness videos of the destruction. 

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This video of one of the victims was particularly heartbreaking. The man, identified as Abdulhakeem Oyeleke, was crying profusely as he explained how he had been attacked for no reason while on his way to visit his wife who was pregnant. 

Within hours, young Nigerians on Twitter located him and started a funding campaign to repair Yemi’s damaged car and support his wife and child. 

“I just want to thank all of you for your love, your support,” Oyeleke said in a video he posted on Twitter. “I am just so grateful and happy for this blessing. Thank you so much.”

3. Chefs served delicacies to protesters

Delicacies are not the typical stuff of protests but the #EndSARS protests were no ordinary protests. As the biggest movement for change of young people in Nigeria’s history, social media was very instrumental in the movement’s rise and coordination. 

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Protest locations, demands, resources, and even funding were all coordinated mostly through Twitter. The same applied to food for protesters as chefs all over the country mobilised via social media to deliver various kinds of delicacies to protesters. 

From chicken and chips, banana bread, and parfait, to BBQ wings, plantain kebabs, and buttermilk chicken sliders, protesters all over the country were treated to meals in a variety never-before seen at a Nigerian protest. 

4. Free legal representation for illegally arrested protesters

From the start of the protests right up to the time of writing, a team of more than 800 volunteer lawyers led by Modupe Odele have worked to free more than 80 illegally detained protesters in 13 states.

Incredibly, this group of lawyers, known as #EndSARS Legal Aid, have given all their services for free despite difficulties posed by police officers. The team have continued to work to get more protesters and other Nigerians who have been illegally arrested on trumped up charges free from detention. 

Following the events of Oct. 20, where at least 12 people were reportedly killed after the Nigerian Army shot at peaceful protesters at the Lekki Toll, the #EndSARS movement will continue online while young Nigerians regroup and chart the way forward. 

To find out more about the #EndSARS protests, here is an explainer and if you would like to support the movement, here are some ways to go about it.

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