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Folu Oyefeso

An update - #EndSars

It's been more than a week since the #EndSars protests started; #EndSars is a movement that began on Twitter after a video of a young man being shot by SARS officials in Delta State circulated. This sparked tremendous outrage amongst the younger generation of Nigerians, who are usually the targets of the excessive force by the Nigerian Police Force. We decided enough was enough.

A country with spotty electricity and water supply, poor healthcare services and bad roads, trains you to do a lot with a little. This is inarguably why when it was time for action, we were able to rally quickly using social media.

If nobody wanted to listen to our cries for help, then we would force them to listen. The youths mobilised tactically and en-masse with the goal of blocking major roads in the city with a peaceful protest - essentially reducing economic activity in many states especially Lagos.

The protests have been largely peaceful, but sadly, about 18 deaths have been recorded. Through donations, medical aid has been provided for the injured, legal aid for the detained and food provisions, thanks to the Feminist Coalition.

We are very aware of the kind of government we are facing and have taken steps to protect each other. For this reason, the #EndSars movement is largely faceless, with no one person at the helm of it, although attempts have been made to hijack it by rogue individuals. Our leaderless protests have made the usual tools of bribery and intimidation ineffective in dismantling the movement

On the 20th of October, the governor of Lagos State announced an indefinite curfew, giving inhabitants of the busy state only about 4 hours to react. A number of protesters remained on the streets, the aftermath of which has become one of the bloodiest nights in recent Nigerian history - The Lagos massacre.

However, this raises a new concern--Are representatives really essential to faciliate dialogue with the government officials? And if we do elect representatives, how do we guarantee their safety? What's next after #EndSars?

There have been many ideas regarding the 'proper' course of action, but our efforts at understanding the Nigerian situation unlocks deeper systemic problems with governance. We have created an open discussion forum on Reddit to dissect the major issues and find long lasting solutions to Nigeria’s festering system.

Nigeria, largely famous for her "fall from grace", but not from a lack of talent or a shortage of resources has suffered from an overexploitation by the ruling class, who treat the country as their personal piggybanks.

Nigeria, a country plagued with a myriad of problems, but blessed with millions of problem solvers who just need unity.

We need to start strategising for the long term and gain seats in our local governments and senates and most importantly we need to vote. It is 2020 and it's past time the nation wakes up and catches up to its peers.

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