ENDSARS United is counting down to the 3rd anniversary of the Lekki massacre and the commemoration of the EndSARS uprising. This serves as a poignant tribute to the nationwide peaceful protests in Nigeria that took place in October 2020. These protests were born out of a strong demand to end police brutality, injustice, and widespread governance failures. Unfortunately, they were brutally suppressed by the Nigerian government, resulting in the tragic loss of many of our fellow compatriots.
EndSARS emerged as a rallying cry for Nigeria's "Soro Soke Generation," heralding a new era of unwavering determination. The EndSARS Movement was a response to the incessant suffering endured by the youth due to frequent killings, arbitrary arrests, unjust detentions, and unrelenting abuse.
The October 2020 EndSARS protests shook Nigeria to its core. We, the impassioned voices of a generation, called for an immediate end to police brutality, a complete overhaul of the Nigerian police force, and the establishment of social justice.
The government's violent crackdown on the protests received global condemnation. Security forces used live ammunition and tear gas against peaceful protesters, resulting in loss of lives, injuries, and trauma across the country. Tragically, the Lekki Toll Gate in Lagos, now known as the 'EndSARS Tollgate,' witnessed over 150 casualties on October 20, 2020. What began as a local outcry resonated globally, uniting the Nigerian people, including activists and youths from various backgrounds.
Today, we solemnly honor the indomitable heroes who made the ultimate sacrifice at the EndSARS Toll Gate in Lekki and throughout the country. ENDSARS United remains steadfast in its unwavering demand for justice for victims of police brutality, freedom for EndSARS activists and innocent victims still in prison, and honoring the deceased, including those whose bodies were recently scheduled for a mass burial. It is disheartening that the demands of the protests, for which so many lives were lost, remain unmet, and our country is in a worse state than it was in 2020. Nevertheless, we remain resolute in our determination that the lives of those we lost will not be in vain. On this solemn three-year anniversary, we present the following demands:
Release All Political Prisoners: We call for the immediate release of all detainees associated with the ENDSARS protests and the dropping of all charges against them.
Accountability and Compensation: We seek full transparency regarding the 103 bodies scheduled for mass burial and advocate for compensation for the grieving families, including dignified burials.
Permanent Memorial at Lekki Tollgate: We demand the transformation of the Lekki tollgate into a lasting memorial without toll charges, along with an official acknowledgment of the tragic event.
Release of all Judicial Inquiry Reports: States must immediately disclose the findings of their investigations into the tragic incidents, ensuring unwavering transparency and accountability.
Prosecution: We demand accountability for the murderers of innocent and unarmed protesters. We recognize that many of these criminals still hold positions in the government, and we insist on justice prevailing and the unyielding prosecution of all those responsible for the heinous crimes.
"We Will Never Forget," and we will always remember our heroes who sacrificed their lives for this noble cause.
ENDSARS UNITED, representing numerous civil society groups worldwide, will observe the #Endsars3YearMemorial with a week of action from October 15th to 20th, 2023, under the theme: #FreeTheLiving #HonorTheDead. We call on all EndSARS organizers around the country and the world to also plan and work towards actions alongside us.
Sunday, October 15th, 2023: Church service
Monday, October 16th, 2023: Endsars United Twitter space
Tuesday, October 17th, 2023: Online Symposium
Friday, October 20th, 2023: Memorial activities at Lekki Tollgate, Lagos; Abuja; London; Montreal, and other cities in Nigeria and across the world.
Despite the challenges we face as young people, we declare that Nigeria belongs to us, and it is our solemn responsibility to reclaim and rectify it for the benefit of future generations. The 2023 general elections offer no promise of a brighter future. The aftermath of events, characterized by untold hardship, especially against the working class majority, who are mostly youths, reinforces our stance against these elements of bad governance that aim to oppress our people. We also call on the government to increase the living wage of the police force as part of its reforms, benefiting not only the police but all Nigerian citizens.
We implore the oppressed Nigerian public to unite with the ENDSARS Movement, supporting our unwavering quest for justice on behalf of all victims of police brutality in Nigeria. The movement beseeches the government to release political prisoners, hold all officers accountable for human rights abuses, dismantle the SARS unit in favor of a unit answerable to the people, and institute reforms promoting transparency and accountability within the Nigerian police force.
Together, we can build a Nigeria where every life is cherished, and justice steadfastly prevails.