Young people are protesting on the streets of Nigeria. Amid domestic civil unrest, Americans are looking for ways to get involved. With Texas having one of the largest Nigerian populations in the United States, hundreds have planned to demonstrate in Dallas on Saturday.
The images are often difficult to watch, but Ikenna Nwakanma still has family in Nigeria. He says he can’t look away.
“Every day, lives are being lost,” said Nwakanma. “I’ve seen videos of these killings. These are executions. These are not just stray bullets. These are purposeful targets and executions.”
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Reports surfaced that Nigerian security forces opened fire on innocent people Tuesday night. Protesters were killed in retaliation to a message like the one that rang out this summer in the United States.
“Police brutality should be shunned in every society. In America, in Nigeria,” said Nwakanma.
The Nigerian Special Anti-Robbery Squad, widely known as SARS, was created in the ’90s to address crime. Since then, citizens say SARS became the criminals.
“We want to be able to walk out of our doors and not be assaulted not just by armed robbers and thieves, but by the police, who, themselves have now become the armed robbers and the thieves,” he said.
The hashtag #EndSARS is trending as people hear of the violence against demonstrators. The movement spread beyond Nigeria and made its way to the United States.
“It is difficult and sometimes challenging for Americans to have to even care for something that is a world away. But in 2020, in this age of consciousness, the humanity of it,” said Nwakanma. “Americans can at least identify with those ideals of living free and pursuing your dreams. And millions don’t have that opportunity.”
Then there’s Texas, with one of the largest Nigerian populations outside of the country itself. So, hundreds will gather at Dallas City Hall Saturday to say police brutality will not be tolerated here or abroad.
“I think it’s important for Texans to be aware that your doctor, your lawyer, your next-door neighbor who is such a wonderful person, they have this thing in the back of their mind that they wake up at night thinking about, crying about,” said Nwakanma.
The demonstration Saturday is expected to start at 11a.m. in front of Dallas City Hall.