We are Dreaming Again
The #EndSARS protests weren’t just a series of protests; but a revolution.
I documented the protests using photography and videography to portray true events regardless of the disrespect of press freedom by the Nigerian authorities.
The Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) was established in 1992 to combat armed robberies in the country but after over two decades of unlawful arrests, tortures and murders of thousands of innocent Nigerians, the Nigerian youth started a revolt against the evil police unit. They called for its disbandment and a total overhaul of the Nigeria Police Force.
What started with a handful of people protesting in cities like Ughelli in Delta State and Benin City in Edo State, soon snowballed into a nationwide protest after Nigerian musicians, Runtown and Falz, called for similar protests in Lagos State.
8th October 2020 marked the beginning of what would later draw the attention of the world to the high level of injustice, callousness and total disregard for human rights perpetrated by the Nigerian government. Older Nigerians believed the movement to be an awakening of a generation that had been infamously termed “a phone-pressing generation; a generation of lazy youths.”
The awakening did not just birth a new sense of national identity amongst Nigerians, it sowed the seed of hope in the hearts of millions of young Nigerians who came together for the first time in a long time to collectively demand a working nation for all without ethnicity, religion or political affiliations creating a divide.
Within a week of the protests, a social system was created to cater for food, medical and legal aid for the protesters, as well an emergency hotline done with a level of accountability for donations, unknown to Nigerian public officials.
With the protesters insisting on a faceless leadership, negotiating roundtable talks with protesters (which in previous times was an opportunity for the government to bribe its way out of accountability) became impossible as the youth insisted on treatment of their demands with immediate physical results.
The Nigerian government then resorted to the use of unlawful means to end the protests. From, sponsoring thugs deployed to instigate violence, to the police using excessive force to dispel protesters and finally, the army whose “intervention” would result in the infamous LEKKI MASSACRE of October 20th, 2020 where the Nigerian army opened fire directly at peaceful protesters at the Lekki Tollgate in Lagos.
Following the denial by the Executive Governor of Lagos State and the Nigerian army of responsibility for the shootings of the peaceful protesters several controversial judicial panels have been set up across different states, one thing is clear though – that the Nigerian youth are now awake to their rights to demand accountability from elected officials of the country.