Prominent figures and Nigerian citizens on social media trended the #EndSARS Memorial to pay tribute to victims of the #EndSARS protests that rocked the nation in October 2020 and especially victims of the Lekki Tollgate shootings on Tuesday, October 20, 2020 which has now been termed ‘Black Tuesday’.
Exactly a year after the #EndSARS protests that received local and global attention, the aim of the protests (which is an end to police brutality and unlawful profiling of Nigerian youths) is still not achieved. This is evident in the constant reports – alongside videos and photos – of unwarranted arrests and harassment of citizens especially those (including journalists and reporters) who converged at Lekki Tollgate to mark the one-year anniversary of the shootings that claimed lives and left others injured on October 20, 2020.
Journalist, Stephanie Busari, tweeted via her Twitter account, “The arrests at the tollgate today were so random. I was filming live on Instagram and doing an interview with this man dressed in green with a beret when an officer shouted ‘arrest that man,’ and he was dragged into the van. #EndSARSMemorial.”
Software engineer, Tosin Olugbenga, said on Friday morning, October 22, 2021, “I am aware that some police officers alleged to be from Ogudu Police station extorted 300k from someone yesterday. Just a few days from the #EndSARSMemorial, you see that nothing has changed since the #EndSARS protest. I am gathering more details.”
Lawyer and human rights activist, Inibehe Effiong, shared photos of himself and Uber driver, Adedotun Clement, on Tuesday, October 21, 2021 along with the words, “I met with Adedotun Clement earlier today following his torture yesterday by officers of Nigeria Police Force and Lagos State Neighborhood Safety Corps at Lekki Toll Gate. Adedotun is the Uber driver in the viral video who was manhandled. His rights will be enforced.”
Afrobeats musician, Dede Mabiaku, also took to the streets for the #EndSARS Memorial. “We are fighting so that this land can be better. They talk about #EndSARS; yes, that’s the key to what they are talking about. You must reform the police. At the army barracks, the police are treated like dogs. That must stop. They dehumanize the police and the police dehumanize the citizens. The people in government are there to serve as servants, either as public servants or civil servants. They are servants to us. They are not our rulers. The system must change,” he told reporters.
Videographer and realtor, George Uruakpa, expressed shock at the display of force by the Nigerian Police against protesters at the #EndSARS Memorial. “I am shocked with the kind of gadgets the Nigerian police has displayed in the show of force against peaceful protesters at #EndSARSMemorial. It is amazing as we never see this when there is armed robbery or cult clashes on the streets of Lagos,” he said.
Aisha Yesufu, a prominent figure during the #EndSARS protests in October 2020, took to her official Twitter account to tweet her commitment to the remembrance of the protests.
“After the tears, what? Failure they say is not falling down but staying down. We can’t stay down! We will not forget the massacre of 20-10-2020 by the Nigerian government led by Major General Muhammadu Buhari and Professor Yemi Osinbajo,” she wrote.
The #EndSARS Memorial also sparked memories of a key victim of the #EndSARS protests in 2020, late Oke Obi-Enadhuze, who until his death, was a software designer who helped design an app used for ordering blood donations for Life Bank Services. Reports at the time had it that Oke Obi-Enadhuze was killed on Wednesday, October 21, 2020 when a stray bullet hit his neck in his Mafoluku, Lagos residence. Oke Obi-Enadhuze’s untimely death, according to reports, was hours after he tweeted, “Nigeria will not end me.” This was also after he actively participated in pushing the #EndSARS protests on social media through his Twitter account.
Social media manager, Timilehin Daniel, took to his Twitter account to remember the late Oke Obi-Enadhuze. He wrote, “Exactly one year today @O_Okee died after he made this tweet. He is my birthday mate. Forever in my heart bruv. I’d always remember and celebrate you. Rest on King.”
Lolade Nwanze, a journalist, while reflecting on the #EndSARS protests during the #EndSARS Memorial said, “This time last year, I was disoriented. I had a terrible panic attack processing what I had watched on DJ Switch’s live Instagram broadcast the night before. I had just resumed at a new firm on October 1. I sent in my resignation. HR called, won’t accept it, had a therapist call me. I was sick with real symptoms. I was crying, almost paralyzed. I kept repeating ‘they shot them.’ I was sick. My daughter would turn 5 the next day but I was unable to care. I was a zombie. I was out for the next week. We remember.”
However, for as many that were arrested and harassed at the #EndSARS Memorial, there were lawyers and human rights activists on standby to get them released.
International lawyer, Tola, tweeted, “No one left behind! We believe we have located and sorted out the release of everyone arrested or detained at #EndSARSMemorial today. I’m relieved everyone gets to go back to their families. If there is anyone we are not aware of, please do urgently reach out. #EndSARS.”
Lawyer and member of the Feminist Coalition, Modupe Odele, also contributed to getting detainees at the #EndSARS Memorial released. “Yes, lawyers are still outside various police stations waiting for folks to be released. Two lawyers have even had to do an emergency representation at a Mobile Court hearing this evening. This whole drama that is playing out is unbelievable,” she tweeted. Providing an update, Modupe tweeted again, “Yay!!! Court hearing is over and 30 people including one minor were granted bail and are now free to go. Best news!!! Ridwan and Victoria are superstars #EndSARSMemorial.”
Lawyer, Ridwan Olayemi, tweeted on Wednesday night, October 20, 2021, “Okay, so we’re just leaving Panti now. All 33 protesters are out. They were arraigned this night and were granted bail. We’ve been able to perfect same and everyone is on their way home. Thanks to the team for the awesome job. #EndSARSMemorial.”