On the night of October 20, 2020, gunshots were fired sporadically at peaceful protesters at the Lekki Toll gate in Lagos, Nigeria. What followed was an uproar across social media that birthed several hashtags that were used to push the cause to end Police brutality in Nigeria. The hashtags were #lekkimassacre, #lekkitollgate, #endsars, #endpolicebrutality, among others.
How it started
Subtly, the End SARS protest began two weeks before the 20th when the youths decided they had had enough of police brutality. A small set of people, including popular comedian, thespian and influencer, Mr Macaroni, slept at the front of the Lagos State House of Assembly to drive a point home. Although their tents were taken from them, these youths adamantly stayed there overnight. The reactions that followed this action led to a full blown nationwide protest against police brutality, bad roads, lack of electricity and bad leadership.
Prior to this, Segun Awosanya, a human rights activist popularly known as Segalink, had been sensitizing the youths on their rights to protest the brutality of the SARS department of the Police. He had also been challenging the government to do something about it. However, the government’s responses were lots of empty promises published in national newspapers and social media.
The otherwise peaceful protest took a tragic turn on the 20th of October 2020, when unidentified men in uniform fired several shots at the peaceful protesters. This act was witnessed by many, and was particularly caught on DJ Switch’s IG live. this evidently did not sit well with many Nigerians. However, the question so bitterly sitting in people’s throats right now is: one year after the fact, what has happened in terms of positive change? We dread the answer to this question.
How it’s going: the state of the country Nigeria
Nigeria has become a nation where tourism can barely thrive. It’s as though peace has taken a long break. Killings, kidnappings, religious and ethnic wars have been on the rise. In Lagos state, highway robbery has become the order of the day. In Jos, Plateau State, religious wars keep happening. Other states are not left out, especially in North-western parts of the country.
Although the #endsars protest was to curb the excesses of the Police, a flip of the coin occurred. The country is unsafe not just for travels at night but for daytime movements as well.
The rate of emigration has also increased dramatically over the last few months. After doctors of the country complained of low income but were unheeded to, they began to emigrate in large numbers.
According to PM news as of September 2021, no fewer than 353 Nigerian doctors have dumped Nigeria for the United Kingdom.
Not only doctors are on the run. Others who can afford emigration have also moved and are still moving. Some to further higher education, others for work.
Price hike / Inflation rates
Since the beginning of the year, prices of daily commodities have been on a persistent increase, much to the disappointment of the masses who can barely survive. Minimum wage cannot sustain families. Even businesses are feeling the heat, so much so they are shutting down in their numbers.
Agreeably, nothing noteworthy has happened since last year. However, with the anniversary of the #endsars protest upon us, it is important to note there’s a choice to vote the right people into power. Not only at the federal level, but also at the state and local levels.