Advertisement

Remembering the #EndSARS movement: A personal reflection

BY NAOMI IGHODALO AMENAWON

Three years have passed since the historic #EndSARS movement swept across Nigeria. It was a time when young Nigerians like myself took to the streets to demand an end to police brutality, harassment, and abuse of power.

I vividly remember my own involvement, standing in solidarity with countless others in places like Abulegba to the pipeline and beyond. This is my personal reflection on the #EndSARS movement and the tragic events that unfolded at the Lekki Toll Gate on October 20, 2020.

The #EndSARS movement was born out of a collective frustration with the systemic issues plaguing Nigeria’s law enforcement agencies, particularly the special anti-robbery squad (SARS). SARS had become synonymous with brutality, extortion, and harassment, and it was time for a change. What began as a peaceful call for justice quickly gained momentum as the youth of Nigeria united with a common goal – to end the reign of fear and abuse.

ADVERTISEMENT
Advertisement

I, like many others, was drawn to the cause because I had personally witnessed or heard countless stories of individuals who had suffered at the hands of SARS officers. In my own neighborhood of Abulegba, we organized peaceful protests, chanting slogans, and holding banners, all in the name of justice. The atmosphere was electric with hope as we believed change was within our reach.

However, our peaceful protests took a dark turn as the government and those in power sought to silence our voices. Instead of addressing our legitimate concerns, they responded with violence and aggression. Bullets became the tools they used to disperse us.

It was heartbreaking to see the very authorities who should protect us turn against us.

Advertisement

The darkest moment of the #EndSARS movement was undoubtedly the Lekki tollgate killing. On the fateful night of October 20, 2020, peaceful protesters gathered at the toll gate to make their demands heard. It was a sombre night, and the air was thick with tension. The world watched in horror as the Nigerian military opened fire on unarmed protesters, killing and injuring many.

The Lekki tollgate massacre hit close to home for me. A dear friend and the only child of his parents was among those who lost their lives that night. He was a passionate advocate for justice. He believed in a brighter future for Nigeria, one free from the tyranny of SARS.

My friend’s tragic death serves as a painful reminder of the sacrifices made by brave young people like him in the pursuit of justice.

Despite the violence and loss we endured, the #EndSARS movement had a profound impact on Nigeria and its people. It was a wake-up call for the entire nation, shining a spotlight on the deep-seated issues of police brutality, corruption, and the need for systemic reform. The movement sparked conversations that had long been suppressed, and it gave us hope that change was possible.

Advertisement

In the aftermath of the Lekki tollgate incident, the Nigerian government faced international scrutiny and pressure to hold those responsible accountable. The world watched closely as investigations were promised, but the road to justice has been long and uncertain. We must continue to demand accountability for the lives lost and the injustices endured during the #EndSARS movement.

The #EndSARS movement was a defining moment in Nigeria’s history, a testament to the power of unity and the unwavering spirit of the youth. As we commemorate the third anniversary of the #EndSARS movement, it is crucial that we remember the lessons learned and the sacrifices made.

Our fight for justice and reform is far from over. It is incumbent upon us, the youth of Nigeria, to continue advocating for change through peaceful means. We must hold our leaders accountable and work tirelessly to ensure that the promises made in the wake of the movement are fulfilled.

Let us renew our commitment to a Nigeria where the rights and dignity of all citizens are upheld, and where the voices of the youth are heard and respected. Our journey continues, and we will strive for a better future for all.

Advertisement

Naomi Ighodalo Amenawon is a Lagos-based writer, singer and graphics designer.

Advertisement


Views expressed by contributors are strictly personal and not of TheCable.
Add a comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

error: Content is protected from copying.