Nigerian singer and songwriter, Damini Ebunoluwa Ogulu, known professionally as Burna Boy, has joined the #EndSARS protests following pressure from critics and fans.
The self-acclaimed African Giant has responded with billboards across Nigeria displaying #EndSarsNow.
Thousands of youths, celebrities – including Burna Boy’s colleagues – had joined the #EndSars demonstrations to demand the disbandment of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) rogue police unit.
SARS personnel had been accused of brutality, extortion and killing of innocent Nigerians.
However, Burna Boy was silent since the protest started earlier in the week, prompting criticisms from Nigerians. Responding on Saturday, the Grammy Award nominee issued a statement, saying the protest should not be about him but about deeper issues.
He wrote, “I have taken the past week to gather my thoughts. I usually respond to these matters with my emotions and frustrations. This time I have chosen to ignore the attempts; well-meaning or derogatory to draw me out. This is not and should not be about me. It is about a fundamental problem that affects us all Nigerians, as Africans and as human beings.
“The state of our country, Nigeria, is tricky; it has been from before I was born. My greatest concern in all of this is that SARS will end now as it allegedly has several times in the past (I recall giving calls to end SARS during my USA tour in April 2019 and morph into a different entity down the line with a different form or a different name. In my opinion, abolishing the unit is a definite first step but we cannot afford to stop there.”
The Grammy Award nominee applauded the protesters for exercising their right to demonstrate.
He also stated that he had created a fund that would be used in helping protesters that are wrongfully arrested by the police.
The singer added, “I have created a sub-fund under my charity- The Reach called (@ProjectProtectng) to help protesters that are wrongfully harmed/arrested by SARS during and after these protests. This is a fund for the people by the people.”
On Saturday evening, the singer tweeted a couple of pictures with the caption: “My #EndSARS billboards have gone up all over Nigeria”.
Somaliland to Deport TikTok Star over Somali Flag
A court in the self-declared republic of Somaliland has ordered the deportation to Somalia of a popular social media star after a video was released of him drinking tea from a cup which was decorated with the image of the Somali flag.
Bilal Bulshawi, who is known by Somalis as “the president of TikTok”, has been in detention for nearly two months in Hargeisa.
Somaliland, which broke away from Somalia nearly 30 years ago, has punished others for displaying the Somali flag.
In 2015, members of a popular band were arrested on return to Somaliland after they waved the Somali flag at a concert in Mogadishu.
Bulshawi release and deportation comes after Somaliland’s Minister of Interior, Mohamed Kahin Ahmed, said he had accepted requests for his freedom.
Some people who attended a ceremony in Hargeisa where former Somali fighter pilot Ahmed Mohamed Hassan (Ahmed Dheere), who refused to bomb the capital was awarded a medal, demanded the release of Bulshawi.
Speaking at the event, the interior minister said he had accepted the requests and would take action in releasing Bulshawi.
Bilal Bulshawi’s family has previously called on the Somaliland authorities to release their son.
“I may not run for office but I’ll join a political party that aligns with my values”- Diary Of A Naija Girl
Brand cinematic story teller, Ife, popularly known as Diary of a Naija girl has revealed her utmost displeasure to the system of governance in Nigeria stating categorically things she would do and things she would not do after the president’s address on Thursday night.
“Last night, I chose to calm my spirit and sleep early. This was after I had cried in frustration in the shower. I’m up now and after a deep soul search, I have made the following decisions: I may not run for office but I’ll join a political party that aligns with my values. I will take it as my sole duty to encourage youths to join a political party that aligns with their values. I will make it my sole duty to encourage youths to get their voters card and vote. I will spend my resources to support youths who have the right values to get involved in the governance of this country.”
Here’s what I will not do:I will no longer spend one more moment of my energy, emotions and time feeling bad or angry at this government .Even though I’ve lost faith in the government, I have faith in myself and my capabilities because I know that when I set my mind to something, I’m unstoppable, no matter the challenges.
For now, I’ll go back to my business to regain the time I’ve lost while enveloped in the #Endsars movement. I hope that in your own time, you’ll join me in this resolve to make REAL change happen in Nigeria by starting with yourself and participating in your little way because it truly does start with us. And because enough is enough! No more wallowing in defeat and/or self-pity, A LOT IS AT STAKE. May the souls of those we’ve lost in this fight, rest in peace. Amin.
Ife ‘s hope of a new era seem to have been dashed. Few days ago, DANG made it known how optimistic she was that change had truly begun. In her exact words, I was moved to tears by the unity amongst us, the real pain in people’s eyes and the desperate hope in their voices. This is happening, we may have reached the peak of “anyhowness” from our Govt. I think change has begun”
However after the President’s speech, she lost hope against hope.
“Did you watch the President’s speech?I watched it and heard him pay tribute to fallen policemen but didn’t hear him mention anything about the #LekkitollgateMassacre .Or was there a point he did this and maybe I was distracted? Please correct me if I’m wrong.
I was at that protest almost every day and on Tuesday as well. It could have been me that was shot dead and this is how everyone will act helpless, just the way I feel helpless now. This means those people too who were killed, that’s it. They’re gone and that’s it?” The content creator said disappointed.
Nigerian celebrities in the diaspora lend their voices to the End SARS protests in Nigeria
Yvonne Orji, Uzo Aduba, Jidenna, Cynthia Erivo, Jackie Aina, and a number of other Nigerian celebrities at home and in the diaspora have lent their voices to the #EndSARS protest.
Some even recorded a video raising awareness about the injustice Nigerians face in the hands of officers charged with protecting them, and they called for an end to police brutality. Omotola Jalade-Ekeinde, DJ Spinall, and a number of other Nigerian celebrities recognized internationally also featured in the video
The Star Wars actor, who passionately spoke at Black Lives Matter protests over the summer, said of the travesty: “I don’t know what to say. To wage such war on your own people…They must pay.” Later adding on his Instagram Stories, “The world must see. The Nigerian government has failed its people. THEY MUST GO.”
Alongside sharing a video explaining the situation in Nigeria (in which she can be seen referencing the first wave of anti-SARS protests in 2017), the Orange Is The New Black star wrote: “Enough is enough! We are united and stand in solidarity as one Nigeria. This is a chance to redefine our future and we join the call for the Nigerian government to act now to create a country that we all can be proud of.”
Phenomenal popular beauty blogger Jackie also appears in the above video with Uzo Aduba. She shared it on her own social media channels, along with the names of many victims: “I don’t know how else to say this but I don’t know how anyone who follows me can see what is happening in Nigeria and not feel compelled to share. Nigerians are literally fighting for their lives. Initially what started with peaceful protests to end police brutality in Nigeria has ignited much larger conversations and much more. NIGERIA NEEDS HELP and has needed help for a long time.”
She continued, “No more people should have to die for BASIC human rights. It makes me sick that the government in Nigeria would much rather inconvenience an entire country and pushback on the demands instead of doing the right thing. Nigerians deserve a better Nigeria, point blank period. There is just….a lot. A lot more that I can’t convey on this post but if you remember anything, remember that Black Lives Matter all the time, Nigerian Lives Matter too, and when we say Black Lives we MOST CERTAINLY do not and will not exclude the LGBTQ community from this conversation, no matter how much the nation may try to!”
The rapper, who won Best Album at The BRITs earlier this year, joined thousands tweeting out their support. He wrote, “THEY ARE KILLING OUR PEOPLE. OUR HEARTS ARE HEAVY. #EndSARS”
If you’d like to donate to help those campaigning to #EndSARS, visit the Feminist Coalition and Connected Development, or find out more information at Amnesty International. You can also write to your local MP urging them to take action.
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