A host of famous activists, actors, authors, and musicians, all with Nigerian heritage but based around the world, have united to create a video expressing their solidarity with and support for the #EndSARS protestors in Nigeria.
Opal Tometi, who co-founded the Black Lives Matter movement in the US, posted the video to her 76,400 followers on Twitter saying: “Enough is enough! We are united and stand in solidarity as one Nigeria.”
“This is a chance to redefine our future and we join the call for the Nigerian government to act now to create a country that we all can be proud of,” she continued.
It includes statements from Nigerian-American actresses Uzo Aduba (star of Orange is the New Black and ACTIVATE: the Global Citizen Movement) and Yvonne Orji (who plays Molly in HBO comedy Insecure) as well as British film and theatre actress Cynthia Erivo (Bad Times at the El Royale and Harriet).
They were joined by rappers Jidenna, Tobe Nwigwe, and Runtown; fashion designer Ugo Mozie; singer Mannywellz; YouTuber Jackie Aina; and best-selling author Luvvie Ajayi, among many others.
Enough is enough! We are united and stand in solidarity as one Nigeria. This is a chance to redefine our future and we join the call for the Nigerian government to act now to create a country that we all can be proud of. https://t.co/n7GEDv1XRL— Opal Tometi 🇳🇬🇺🇸 (@opalayo) October 19, 2020
The group calls in the video on the Nigerian government to step up and listen to the voices of the young people driving the protests — which is being described as the biggest movement for change in the country’s history.
The #EndSARS demonstrators began by calling for the dissolution of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), a police unit formed in the 1990s that has been accused by multiple victims over the years of terrible abuses of power — including extortion, harassment, and kidnapping. Members of the SARS unit have also been caught on camera carrying out beatings and shooting civilians on many occasions.
The Nigerian government announced that it would disband the SARS unit on Oct. 11, but activists and commentators said that nothing would change without full systemic reform of the police. Especially as a Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) team was created two days later to continue the work originally done by SARS.
According to Amnesty International the wider police force in Nigeria is responsible for hundreds of unlawful killings as well.
“'Police is your friend' is the official motto of the Nigerian police," Aina points out in Tometi’s video. But as Orji highlights, “friends don’t extort, rape, steal, torture, or murder.”
And as is further explained in the clip, the hashtag #EndSARS first went viral in 2017, sparking a wave of protests which led to amendments being made to the Nigerian constitution. However, Aduba says, “there is still no evidence of justice for the victims.”
“We demand justice for the lives lost to senseless violence,” adds artist Mannywellz.
There are a number of ways you can lend your support to the movement in Nigeria — through lending your voice online, staying informed, offering donations, or taking action on the Global Citizen platform.
You can head here to tweet the Nigerian government to fulfil its pledge to end all forms of injustice and abuse against its citizens.
If you have experienced, or know someone who's experienced, a violation of human rights in Nigeria you can also anonymously share your story with Global Citizen here, and we'll share your stories far and wide to help pressure the government for change.