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Blog: Dorothy Chirwa, President of NUSU

NUSU and #EndSARS

cw// police brutality and death.

 

Nigerians have been protesting against the Special Anti-Robbery Squads (SARS) which was put in place to protect civilians from armed robbers. However SARS units across Nigeria have been unlawfully arresting and detaining young people across the country. The #EndSARS movement comes after a report from Amnesty International published in June 2020 documented at least 82 cases of “torture, ill-treatment and extra-judicial execution” by the SARS unit between January 2017 and May 2020. Whilst the campaign has since forced the Nigerian government to order for the immediate dissolution of the force, the fight to end police brutality in Nigeria is still just as key. During the recent protests, Amnesty International says at least 10 people have been killed by the police. 

As a union that represents an international body of students, we are acutely aware that some of our students live in Nigeria or have family and friends in Nigeria  and in recognition of that we would like to take this time to say that we stand in solidarity with you. We are here to represent students and the things that matter to them. We wanted to take the time to signpost what resources are available for students to ensure that their mental wellbeing is being put first. The Student Advice Centre is available to give advice on a variety of things including offering academic advice and referrals to mental health support. Student wellbeing are available as a resource and reaching out to them can be helpful. 

During this time, we know that it may be difficult for students to focus on university. While education is important, looking after yourself should be your primary focus and this shouldn’t put you at a detriment. The PEC system is there for students experiencing personal circumstances that mean that they will be at a disadvantage when it comes to assessments and exams. PECs are there for circumstances just like these, do not be afraid to use them. 

If you are reading this and want to know how to stand in solidarity with Nigeria, then here are some ways.

Educate yourself. 

Reading up on SARS and educating yourself about police brutality in Nigeria and across the world puts you in a better position to spread the word about #EndSARS and support the movement from afar.

Here are some good educational resources to start:

  • The Slacktivists’ guide to what’s happening in Nigeria gives an overview of the current situation

  • The #EndSARS resource hub is a comprehensive guide to the movement – check it out for fundraising links, social media accounts to follow and news about what’s going on in Nigeria

  • Nduka Orjinmo’s look at the young Nigerian protestors making change gives a sense of context to the protests

  • The Guardian’s video explainer details why the protests are so significant

Follow and amplify key voices.

Although the #EndSARS movement is finally gaining international attention, it’s important that we continue to amplify the voices of activists on the ground to ensure as many people are made aware of what’s going on as possible.

As well as following the #EndSARS hashtag, key people and organisations to follow include: 

The Feminist Coalition: The Feminist Coalition is a group of young Nigerian women who are fighting for gender equality in the country. They’re also working on the ground at the #EndSARS protests to provide food, water and first aid and are fundraising to provide legal aid and pay for the bail of those arrested.

Find them on Twitter @feminist_co and on Instagram @feminist.co

Amnesty International Nigeria: As well as providing regular updates about the protests and what’s happening, Amnesty International Nigeria also shares helpful resources and data which provide context to the ongoing protests. 

Find them on Twitter @amnestynigeria

Feyikemi Abudu: Alongside her role as co-host on the I Said What I Said podcast, Abudu is part of the End SARS response team which is working to send medical aid and provide support to protestors. Her tweets provide a snapshot of what is going on in Lagos and across Nigeria.

Find them on Twitter @fkabudu

Yemisi Adegoke: Adegoke is a journalist for BBC Africa working in Lagos, Nigeria. Alongside posting regular updates about what’s going on with the protests, she also retweets and shares key information and sources from protestors around the country.

Find them on Twitter @briticoyemo

yours in solidarity,

Dorothy Chirwa

Comments

Lizzie Meade
7:40pm on 25 Oct 20 Thank you for taking the time and energy to put this together; it is really informative.
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