A number of citizens and police officers have been killed in the African country’s largest city Lagos as protests against the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) intensify.
As the BBC reports, shots were fired to disperse protesters who had gathered at the Lekki toll gate yesterday (October 20). According to one witness, soldiers “pulled up… and they started firing directly” at peaceful protesters while several buildings – including a bus station and major TV studio – were set ablaze.
As footage and images from the scene began circulating on social media, various figures from the music world aired their support for #EndSARS via their official channels in a bid to raise awareness.
“I can’t bare [sic] to see this torture and brutalisation that is continuing to affect nations across our planet!” Rihanna wrote on Instagram Stories beneath a Nigerian flag emoji.
“It’s such a betrayal to the citizens, the very people put in place to protect are the ones we are most afraid of being murdered by! My heart is broken for Nigeria man!! It is unbearable to watch! I’m so proud of your strength and not letting up on the fight for what’s right! #ENDSARS.”
Beyoncé wrote: “I am heartbroken to see the senseless brutality taking place in Nigeria. There has to be an end to SARS.
“We have been working on partnerships with youth organizations to support those protesting for change. We are collaborating with coalitions to provide emergency healthcare, food, and shelter. To our Nigerian sisters and brothers, we stand with you.”
The singer signed off by directing her followers to her official website, where she has listed organisations that are offering support to the cause. See that post below.
“Prayers for our Brothers & Sisters & all they are going through. Praying for STRENGTH/HEALING,” Missy Elliott said. Elsewhere, Rina Sawayama called on her fans to “share resources on how to donate, help + amplify #ENDSARS”.
Tinie Tempah wrote: “The Nigerian government has failed. Innocent people are losing their lives. All human beings deserve to live without fear of police brutality or intimidation. The world cant be silent whilst innocent people are being murdered whilst protesting.”
You can see those posts and more below.
Everyone has said it all!
It’s ripping all of our hearts apart!
It’s unnecessary! Especially when all
A new generation wants, is CHANGE and to be a difference! They SHOULD NOT have to loose their lives for it! #ENDSARS
Nigeria I stand with you always and forever! pic.twitter.com/63jS15BQqq
— KELENDRIA ROWLAND (@KELLYROWLAND) October 21, 2020
— Missy Elliott (@MissyElliott) October 21, 2020
— DON (@stefflondon) October 20, 2020
THE NIGERIAN GOVERNMENT HAS FAILED. INNOCENT PEOPLE ARE LOSING THEIR LIVES. ALL HUMAN BEINGS DESERVE TO LIVE WITHOUT FEAR OF POLICE BRUTALITY OR INTIMIDATION. THE WORLD CANT BE SILENT WHILST INNOCENT PEOPLE ARE BEING MURDED WHILST PROTESTING #ENDSARS. #ENDBADGOVERNANCEINNIGERIA
— Tinie (@tinie) October 20, 2020
— RINA SAWAYAMA (@rinasawayama) October 20, 2020
What’s happening in Nigeria is so terrifying and heartbreaking my prayers are with all the people there right now. This needs to stop!! #ENDSARS
— BiigPiig (@BiigPiigMusic) October 21, 2020
— Paloma Faith (@Palomafaith) October 14, 2020
Some of the footage I'm seeing or should I say have been shown, is just too much man. #EndSARS One love Africa! ❤️✊🏾
— Tinchy Stryder (@TinchyStryder) October 14, 2020
The now-disbanded SARS unit has become notorious in Nigeria, carrying out stop and search missions and being accused of police brutality as well as extortion. Earlier this month (October 11), protests took place in London and featured a speech from Nigerian singer WizKid.
“This is just the beginning!! We won our fight to #ENDSARS .. now Reform the Nigerian police!! #Endpolice brutality! We deserve good governance,” Wizkid later tweeted.
“Now my people .. you see what our voices did…this is the beginning of a new Nigeria! Nigerian youths!! Know your rights and fight for it ! You deserve it. We all deserve it!!”
He added: “This is not about me/You or any individual !! This is for us and the next generation to come! Love everybody!”