Global activists and celebrities have slammed the Federal Government of Nigeria for its violent crackdown on peaceful #EndSARS protesters demonstrating against police brutality two months ago.
The group of activists, including leaders from the Black Lives Matter movement, racial justice advocates, and other prominent voices for change, published an open letter to Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari, highlighting the government’s ‘unwarranted force against its own unarmed citizens’ and calling for the end of SARS, Nigeria’s Special Anti-Robbery Squad.
The full letter was published in The New York Times.
“As people who have supported the Black Lives Matter movement in the United States and throughout the diaspora, we cannot be silent when similar atrocities take place in African countries. We demand respect for the Nigerian people, especially as they engage in their constitutional right to protest grave injustices,” the letter states. “As president of the world’s most populous Black republic, you assume a leadership role on the global stage. Nigeria matters.”
The letter was published to coincide with International Human Rights Day.
Among the signatories were US activist Opal Tometi, actors Danny Glover and Kerry Washington, Swedish teenage eco-warrior Greta Thunberg, singer Alicia Keys, civil rights campaigner Angela Davis, US congresswoman Ilhan Omar, Nigerian American rapper Jidenna and Bernice King, the daughter of Martin Luther King Jr.
“Nigerians deserve better. Africa deserves better. The world deserves better. We remain united in our calls for justice until all Black lives matter throughout the world,” the global activists and celebrities said.
Tometi, a co-founder of the Black Lives Matter movement in the US and founder of Diaspora Rising, described Nigeria’s response to the protests as “very shameful”.
“Instead of showing up alongside [the people], the government went to suppress them, went to squelch the protest, and stamp it out,” she said.