THOUSANDS of Nigerians in the UK participated in a candlelit vigil in central London as part of the worldwide #EndsSars campaign aimed at bringing about an end to police brutality and improving security across Nigeria.
Over the last fortnight, there have been widespread demonstrations across Nigeria and in the diaspora to protest the recent brutal killings by men of the Special Anti Robbery Squad (Sars) police unit. It all sparked off a fortnight ago when Sars operatives killed a young boy identified as Joshua Ambrose in cold blood in Delta State but unfortunately for them, videographer Prince Nicholas Makolomi, recorded the whole incident live.
His video fuelled anger across Nigeria, sparking off a series of nationwide protests, with celebrities joining in with an online campaign across social media. So fierce has been the public mood that the inspector-general of police Mohammed Adamu has been forced to announce the dissolution of the Sars unit.
Rocked by the scale of the protests, the federal government has been forced to act and meet some of the demands of the protesters. Already, the National Economic Council, presided over by vice president Professor Yemi Osinbajo, ordered the immediate establishment of state-based judicial panels of inquiry across the country to receive and investigate complaints of police brutality or related extra judicial killings with a view to delivering justice for all victims of the dissolved Sars and other police units.
In addition, the NEC resolved that state governors and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) minister should take charge of interface and contact with the protesters in their respective domains. However, the protests have continue to grow as the Nigerian youth do not trust the government, given that it has repeatedly reneged on past promises.
Yesterday, diasporans took centre stage, meeting up at Trafalgar Square in central London for a candlelight vigil. At a peaceful and lively event that was characterised by musical displays and entertainment by saxophonists like Mike Aremu, protesters expressed their solidarity with the youth in Nigeria and vowed to keep up the pressure until all their demands were implemented in full.
Across Europe and the US, the protests have been gathering pace with demonstrators warning that the Nigerian government is likely to go for a crackdown soon. Already, some government operatives like President Buhari’s peace ambassador to the UN Hussaini Coomasie have called for the military to be brought out against them, describing the youths as miscreants.