+How They Raised Over N70 Million To Fund The Protest
Over the last few days, the nation has witnessed a rash of #End SARS protests across Nigeria. From Lagos to Abuja, Kaduna to Port Harcourt, Benin-Ibadan, and Enugu it has been protest upon protest, on a daily basis. The protests were co-ordianted by youths (Generation Z) who are angry with the SARS (Special Anti-Robbery Squard).
As the various groups didn’t reveal the names of their leaders, many erroneously felt the various groups don’t have leaders.
But City People found out that contrary to such a belief, the protests were well co-ordinated by many celebrities and Showbiz stars who came out in Lagos, Abuja, PH, Osun, Ogun, Oyo, Imo, Enugu and other states. Many don’t know that the The EndSARS movement was founded in 2017 by human rights activist, Segalink. The movement, however, had no traction until 2019 when brutal stories started making their way to social media.
But still, there were no protests, until a month ago when another story made its way to social media and a random Twitter user said he would protest to end Sars. And then another user, Feyikemi Abudu said she’ll donate N50,000 to the protest. And before we knew it, more people joined him. A few days later, artiste Runtown and Falz told people to also join them for the protest. Falz and a couple of other artistes joined in Lekki, Lagos.
And before we knew it, another protest kicked off in Ikeja, Lagos, with Influencers, Mr Macaroni and Pamilerin, leading the charge.
Then, Timi Dakolo led another. And Feyikemi Abudu and a couple of female friends came together to start the Feminist Coalition to raise funds for the protest
As at lasr Thursday, they had raised over N70 million from young Nigerians across the world.
And they use the funds for legal fees to bail arrested protesters, for ambulance services and healthcare for wounded protesters. For food and drinks and for security.
The fund is also for supporting families of dead Nigerians who were killed by SARS
Everyday, they updated protesters on how they spend the money. As at last week they had disbursed over N13 million, Total raised is N72,643,663.05, Total disbursed is N13,026,580.00.
Wizkid led the protests in London, Adékúnlé Gold led the protest in Houston, Davido led the protest in Abuja for a day, Phyno, Flavour and Zoro led the protests in Enugu for a day, Timi Dakolo, Nse Ikpe Etim and Hilda Dokubo led the protest in Ikoyi, Lagos. Falz and Banky W led the protest in Lekki to Marina with Darey Art Alade.
City People gathered that the Federal Government initially underated the capacity of the protesters to sustain the protests. According to one of the protesters, “they thought the protesters would get discouraged by their initial silence and dispers in no time, but the numbers and locations began to increase.”
“They thought the protesters would run out of Cash, but the organisers raised over 26 million in a few days. Government shut down the Flutterwave link yet we raised over 1 million worth of bitcoins in an hour.”
“They thought we will get exhausted or fall sick, but we raised a team of medical personnel and even got Ambulances for emergency.”
“They thought that arresting would scare us, but we mobilised a team of over 600 lawyers across the country to provide free legal services.”
“They thought that hunger would send us home, but protesters were having buffet services back to back like. Small chops, rice, pasta, Ewà agoyín, pizza, asun and drinks.”
“They thought that using water canons, throwing tear gas and shooting at us would make us become violent, but we remained calm. They also thought that sending thugs to attack us would make us lose our cool, but we beat up the thugs, fed them, sent some to the hospital, arrested and handed the rest over to the police.”
“They thought that destroying our cars and phones would make us retreat, but people are getting their cars and phones fixed at little or no cost. They thought that subtle threats of distorting the internet would shake us, but we immediately made plans for VPNs.”
“They thought that the rain would scatter us, but we immediately ordered raincoats and umbrellas.
They thought that the football weekend would be a major distraction, but we created a stadium at Lekki toll gate and will be bringing football live to the protesters.”
Lets tell you about The Feminist Coalition which is a group of young Nigerian feminists formed in July, 2020, with a mission to champion equality for women in the Nigerian society with a core focus on education, financial freedom and representation in public office.
In a release from the group, “We are fighting Injustice through peaceful protests, fundraising, and social media organisation. We have a vision for a Nigeria where equality for all people is a reality in our laws and everyday lives.”
“Over the past week, there has been a peaceful uprising by the Nigerian youths, demanding the disbandment of the notorious SARS unit, and the end to police brutality and an unjust judicial system. like everyone else, we decided to play our part and help fight the injustice through fundraising to sustain the peaceful protests and ensure the safety of Nigerians exercising their civic rights – by providing food, water and other rrefreshments, masks, medical aid, and legal aid for protesters.
“Our initial plan has been to Strategise (find the best ways to keep Nigerians safe during this period, while using their voices), Organised (to encourage Nigerians to exercise their constitutional rights) and Sustain (support the peaceful #EndSars protests until the demands of Nigerian youths are met).”
“We have sustained this so far through an unwavering team of women, fundraising effort a network of volunteer lawyers, business owners and well-meaning Nigerians.
Here is a breakdown of what has happened since then: We have raised a total sum of: NGN 72,643,663.05, USD 11,474.34, CAD 5,595.89, GBP 5,733.49, EUR 875.42, GHS 1,256.70, KES 53,016.60, BTC 1.28827988″.
“Through the generosity of well-meaning people and concerned Nigerians, who want their voices to be heard and their demands to be met.”
“With these funds, they have supported 100 peaceful protests in 25 states, paid NGN 759,080 in medical bills for injured protesters, donated NGN 400,000 to the families of victims murdered by police officers while protesting peacefully, paid NGN 500,000 in legal, aid and spent N11,367,500 on a plies· including food, water, masks among other things for the peaceful protesters.”
“For many years, there has been a public outcry from the Nigerian youth against the predatory harassment, intimidation, physical and sexual violence by the SARS unit of the Nigerian police force. For many years, the Nigerian government has promised to reform of the unit, but their inaction has led to a reign of terror that has resulted in loss of lives of many innocent Nigerians.”
SARS operates with impunity; beating, detaining, robbing, raping and killing at will, with a marked increase in brutalization as the years have passed, to the continued silence of our leaders and elders.
Despite the assurance of changes and the announcement of the disbandment of SARS by the relevant authorities, the peaceful protests have continued to be derailed by marked police violence and unlawful arrests, and individuals continue to report harassment by SARS members still patrolling the streets.”
“Since the protests began more than 70 have been arrested, simply for peacefully protesting.”
“Thanks to the team of volunteer rockstar lawyers around the country; they have been able to combine efforts in getting most of them released.”
“It is important to note that no one controls neither the protests nor the youth. It is not our place. But as long as the protests continue, we will STAND WITH Nigerian youth, and as a body, we demand the complete disbandment of SARS in reality (not a rebrand as SWAT), and a total police reform to put end to the predatory harassment, intimidation and physical and sexual violence faced by millions of Nigerian men and women. Nigerian demand a system that is fair ransparent, and accountable to ALL Nigerian citizens.”
“We do not organise protests. Our role in the #EndSARS fight is to fund it for safety and comfort of peaceful Nigerian protesters exercising their constitutional rights.”
It is time to #ENDSARS for good”.
City People can also reveal that a lot has happened in the last few days. For instance, Young Nigerians are already preparing to create a new political party to be called “Youth Democratic Party”.
Nigerian youth have expressed their interest in a new political party to be called, the Nigerian Youth Democratic Party, on Twitter.
The declaration of intent followed recent protests aimed at putting an end to police brutality in the country.
Right now on to Twitter the hash tag #Youth Democratic Party on the microblogging platform was currently in vogue and rapidly accelerating. According to tweets from young Nigerians, they want a complete overhauling of the system that has failed since independence.
Many said that the older generation had ruled and failed for too long and that it was time for the younger generation to take over the system. As far as funding is concerned, one Twitter user suggested setting up an online fundraising campaign for young people, which would allow them to register the party and also support the candidates they select.
How did Government react? Following directives by President Muhammadu Buhari on dissolution of Special Anti-Robbery Squad and immediate response to yearnings of citizens, the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, convened a meeting with Stakeholders, agreeing to meet demands, which include halting use of force against protesters and unconditional release of arrested citizens.
The meeting, organised by the Office of the Inspector General of Police and National Human Rights Commission, was a multi-stakeholders’ forum attended by leaders and representatives of civil society organisations in Nigeria, activists from the entertainment industry and the ENDSARS movement and development partners.
The Ministry of Police Affairs and Police Service Commission were also present at the meeting that affirmed that the 5-point demands of the protesters and the ENDSARS movement are genuine concerns and will be addressed by the Government.
A communiqué of Stakeholders’ Meeting on the Implementation of the Recommendations of the Presidential Panel on the Reform of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) said:
“Following the public protests regarding various forms of human rights violations by the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) and the consequent disbandment of the unit by the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, there arose the need for stakeholders engagement to build trust and restore public confidence in law enforcement.
“The agitations also brought to the fore, the need to implement the recommendations of the Presidential Panel on the Reform of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS). “The Forum was addressed by the Inspector General of Police and the Executive Secretary of the National Human Rights Commission.
“The Forum collectively: welcomed the dissolution of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) by the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu; Reaffirmed the constitutional rights of Nigerians to peaceful assembly and protest; Further affirmed the sanctity of life of every Nigerian and the role of the Police in protecting this right; Affirms that the five-point demands of the protesters and the ENDSARS movement are genuine concerns and will be addressed by the Government.’’
According to the communiqué signed by the Inspector General of Police and Executive Secretary of the National Human Rights Commission, Tony Ojukwu, Esq, the Forum noted that the dissolution of SARS presents an opportunity to embark on comprehensive reforms aimed at repositioning the Nigeria Police Force as a modern, responsive and citizens-centred law enforcement organisation.
“The Forum further notes that the proposed reforms should be anchored under the basis of the White Paper on the Report of the Presidential Panel on the Reform of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad which was jointly authored (sic) by the National Human Rights Commission, the Federal Ministry of Justice, and the Nigeria Police Force.
“The Forum affirms that reform proposals for the Nigerian Police Force will be based on Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and existing legislation such as the Nigeria Police Act, 2020, the Nigeria Police Trust Fund Act, 2019, the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, 2015 the Anti-Torture Act, 2017, and the National Human Rights Commission Act, 2010 among others.
“Following the dissolution of SARS, the Forum calls for the following immediate steps to be taken in restoring public confidence and trust in the Police: An order by the Inspector General of Police to all State Commands to halt the use of force against protesters; Unconditional release of arrested protesters and citizens; Open communication and outreach to citizens to establish trust and confidence and a roadmap for the implementation of the White Paper of the Presidential Panel on the Reform of the SARS.
“The Forum welcomed the proposal to set up an Independent Investigation Panel to look into the violations of human rights by the defunct SARS and other segments of the Nigeria Police. The Forum agrees to the setting up of this Independent Panel by the National Human Rights Commission within the next one week. An open call for Memoranda from members of the public whose rights have been violated by the defunct SARS and other segments of the Police will be released by the Commission within one week.
“The Forum recommends the psychological evaluation, training and retraining of disbanded SARS officials prior to re-deployment. The Forum resolves to set up the following Technical Sub-Committees to design an implementation roadmap and work plan for the implementation of the White Paper: Training, Capacity and Re-orientation; Logistics: Infrastructure, Communications and Technology; Arrest, Detention, and Investigations; Regulations, Oversight and Accountability and Financing and Partnerships.’’
The communiqué stated that sub-Committees would be supported by the National Human Rights Commission and other civil society organisations.
Those who attended the meeting are: Dr Kole Shettima- MAC Arthur Foundation; Innocent Chukwuma – Ford Foundation; Jude Ilo- of OSIWA; Segun Awosanya (Segalinks) – End Sars Movement; Yemi Adamolekun- Enough is Enough; Clément Nwankwo- PLAC; Rafsanjani- CISLAC; Kemi Okonyedo- PWAN; YZ – CITAD; Folarin Falana Falz; Prof Deji Adekunle –NIALS; Chris Ngwodo, SSA to President Research & Policy; Dr Fatima Waziri – Rule of Law Adviser OVP and Abdulrahman Yakubu – NHRC Secretariat.
Others are: Hilary Ogbonna- NHRC secretariat; Halilu Adamu – NHRC Secretariat; Ben Aguh – NHRC Secretariat; Dr Uju Agomuoh – PRAWA and Onyinye Ndubuisi – UNDP.