We stand in solidarity with the people of Nigeria demanding justice, accountability, and an end to police brutality and government abuse of power.
Lethal force is never the right response to peaceful protest. On October 20, 2020, Nigerian security forces opened fire on peaceful protestors, in violation of their rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly. The organized protests asking for the disbandment of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) are a result of years of ineffectiveness and the active harm it has caused Nigerian people with no government response.
The #EndSARS protestors have seven demands:
- Institutional Reforms (Security)
- Cost of Governance
- Constitution Reforms
- Education Reforms
- Health Reforms
- Youth Affairs Reforms
- Public Office Reforms
Their demands in full are what any citizen would want and deserve from their society. The youth of Nigeria make up a majority of these protests, and young women have been key to organizing protests, ensuring peace and safety, and providing aid and supplies. They are raising their voice to demand investment in the future of their country.
When government acts of violence occur in unison with a system of poverty, ongoing conflict, and poor infrastructure amid the many crises that afflict Nigeria — of which COVID-19 is only one of many — women suffer most.
Women’s burdens manifest as assault, lack of protection and justice from law enforcement, inability to access quality healthcare and education. It looks like disappearing wages during a health crisis while the cost of necessities rises on top of shouldering household responsibilities and a family’s survival. It looks like bad roads that make it difficult for food, resources, and medical professionals to reach rural women.
To see meaningful, positive, and systemic change, we need women leaders in any movement. We saw the impact of inclusion and investment in women’s power in the rebuilding of Bosnia & Herzegovina, Kosovo, and Rwanda. This is why we connect women with each other: so they can find and amplify their voice. It is why we ensure they know their rights: so they can protect themselves. It is why we support women’s civic participation, advocacy, and leadership skills: so they can become change agents with the power to transform their world.
We are working on creating a system of justice, equity, and peace by investing in women in Nigeria as we stand in support of Nigerians marching towards the same goal.