The International Day of the Girl Child may not have been marked with the usual fanfare, seminars, and other programmes, however, it was one of the days that would never be forgotten in the history of Nigeria.
On Sunday, October 11, Nigerian youths were on the streets clamouring for the end of a unit of the police force called the Special Anti-Robbery Squad popularly known as SARS.
The theme of this year’s celebration “My voice, our equal future,” was vividly demonstrated as both young and elderly women were at the forefront of peaceful protests asserting their powers as change-makers.
SARS has been accused of oppressing Nigerian youths, many of whom they profile by their looks, expensive phones, cars among many other irrelevant things.
Not even women are spared as harrowing stories of how they sexually abuse them are shared on social media platforms.
For the first time in the history of Nigeria.. we are not praying to God for SARS to end .. we’re ending it our selves.. things must change#SARSMUSTEND pic.twitter.com/Nluh6F3feC
— Greenback$$ (@iamGreenback) October 12, 2020
On Thursday, September 10, a young lady, named Ifeoma Abugu was arrested by SARS in place of her fiancé in one of the eastern part of Nigeria.
While she was in detention, it was alleged that she was tortured and raped which led to her death. Sadly, the truth about her death hasn’t been unraveled neither has justice been served.
On Thursday, May 28, 2020, a 17-year-old secondary school student Tina Ezekwe stood by a bus stop in Lagos state, Nigeria, when a drunken trigger happy police shot at the young girl.
Many weeks after the Lagos state government said it had identified the killer cop, nothing has been heard about the situation.
Ifeoma and Tina’s cases are just two out of the hundreds of cases of police brutality in Nigeria.
It is also not the first time that members of the public are demanding justice for the killing of innocent victims by the Nigerian police.
If this doesn’t melt your heart, I wonder what will ????????. Please #EndSARS, just #EndPoliceBrutality pic.twitter.com/DWmiD4Ar8F
— Rinu #EndSARS ???????? (@Savvy__rinu) October 10, 2020
The straw that, however, broke the camel’s back was when the video of a young man being shot by a member of SARS and allegedly took away his car on Saturday 3 October 2020.
The video caused an uproar on social media with the #ENDSARS hashtag and this later led to a nationwide protest which started on Thursday, October 8, 2020.
This protest has seen Nigerian women show courage, tenacity, determination, and support for others in the face of police brutality.
Despite the challenges they face, especially as the government seemed to be intentionally ignoring the requests of citizens, it has not stopped these women from showing up every day.
With these women at the forefront of national affairs, there is no doubt that young girls in Nigeria have great role models to look up to.
A few of them are:
A Nigerian socio-political activist who is always calling out the government on their excesses, the woman demonstrated bravery when she stood a distance away from other protesters with one hand raised in the air to demand change.
Despite being attacked with tear gas, bottles of water, and gunshots, she remained unmoved. For many Nigerians, she is a symbol of liberty.
Madam Aisha Yesufu is a brave woman. While everyone was running, this woman was walking casually in front of the police with her first raised high in defiance. #EndSARS #PoliceBrutalityInNigeria #Aisha @segalink @Gurusbest pic.twitter.com/UveM0ve6l8
— Statue of Liberty ✊???? (@Adewumi20) October 11, 2020
The young woman led some youths to the Lagos State House of Assembly and camped overnight for the state’s Inspector General of police to address the protesters.
Every Nigerian Magazine and Newspaper needs to make @savvy__rinu the Cover of October and November issue. She is Fucking brave and would ever be forgotten!!! #EndSARS #EndSarsNow #EndPoliceBrutality #Rinu pic.twitter.com/vJiPAixTLW
— Ugonna-Ora (@Ugonnaoraowoh) October 10, 2020
She assisted with the mobilisation of ambulances while disbursing funds for medical bills. She also assisted with pushing for the release of protesters who were arrested.
Update on the @theflutterwave fund so far:
N2m was disbursed for hospital bills for Joy
N1m is being disbursed to the family of Jimoh
— FK. (@fkabudu) October 11, 2020
A human right attorney, she coordinated volunteer lawyers to work for the release of arrested protesters. She also provides legal assistance to people who were assaulted during the protest.
Now going to attempt to get some rest. Here are the important links.
1. To report that anyone has been arrested, please use this: https://t.co/DEQWLQ0xj5
2. To volunteer as a lawyer to help arrested protesters https://t.co/OChS7EQUrX
— Moe (@Mochievous) October 11, 2020