The #EndSARS protest wilL definitely go down in history as one of the greatest moments in recent times. Youths from all corners united on the street, demanding an end to police brutality and compensation to families of victims of police brutality. The peaceful protest went on for 14 days until it turned bloody after the Nigerian military allegedly opened fire on protesters at the Lekki Toll Gate in Lagos, on a daY which citizens has marked as ” 20-10-2020, the day Nigeria massacred her own citizens”. Although the protest has no leader, there were undoubtedly some notable influence from our Celebrities. Lets take a brief of the roles they played in the protest;
Folarin Falana, popularly known as Falz stood with protesters as he called on government listen to the 5for5 demands of the youth. He also, with his knowledge, constantly educated the protesters on the laws regarding their demonstrations. He also lauded the judicial panels set up by the state government and urged youths to select credible representatives that would sit in the panels. Falana also showed his disappointment with the Lagos state government over their inability to secure the live of its citizens following the bloody turn out of the protest.
When the protest began, there was a lot of criticism on the popular singer, Damini Ogulu AKA Burna Boy for keeping mum with regards to the #EndSARS movement. He corrected his wrong by offering to pay legal fees of those having police issues.
In a statement released by the singer, this is what he had to say;
“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.
“I have created a sub-fund under my charity, The Reach, 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.”
Popular singer, Ayodeji Balogun, aka Wizkid, fired his first salvo in the #EndSARS protests earlier in the month when he directed a post to the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd), on social media. Reacting to the president’s goodwill message to Donald Trump when the latter tested positive for COVID-19, the pop star wrote on Twitter, “Donald Trump is not your business, old man. Police/Sarz (sic) still killing Nigerian youths on a daily. Do something. Nothing concern you for America. Face your country.”
One of the President’s aides, Lauretta Onochie, later called out the singer but he was unperturbed as he continued to identify with the #EndSARS protests. He even joined demonstrators in London United Kingdom, on Sunday, October 7.
Evidently angered by the shooting of unarmed protesters in Lekki, Wizkid again addressed the President on Twitter.
“You are a failure. Old and incompetent. Step down. We don’t want you, your Vice President and your IG. Resign,” he wrote
Many people probably thought it was a joke when social media comedian, Debo Adebayo, aka Mr. Macaroni, started canvassing support for the #EndSARS protests, but he quickly showed that this time around, he was totally serious.
He was visible at the protests in Lagos, as he motivated youths to stay focused in fighting for their rights. The comedian has a history of activism having attended four universities before he could graduate all because he always spoke up on issues that the authorities were not comfortable about. This evidently came in handy as even when he was threatened, he did not back down. He took to social media to inform his fans that some strange faces had trailed him to his area of residence but he was not cowed. He has continued to talk about the protests and its ideals.
‘As tough as nails’ is a phrase many have used to describe singer and disc jockey, Obianuju Udeh, popularly known as DJ Switch, these past days. The entertainer was at the Lekki tollgate as fire was allegedly opened on protesters by security operatives. Throughout the carnage, Switch was ‘live’ on Instagram as she transmitted to the world what was happening in real time at the scene. Many celebrities and fans applauded her bravery, even as they implored her to be safe. At a point, rumours began circulating that she had been apprehended by security operatives but she later debunked the reports, re-iterating that she was safe. She also visited hospitals where some victims of the attack were being treated and she went with some other protesters to a church in Victoria Island which threw open its doors for protesters to sleep.
The next morning, Udeh continued filming and she reported that shots were still being fired upon unarmed protesters.
DAVIDO IS AN HONORABLE MENTION, THE TOP SINGER LED THE PROTEST AND WAS THE ONE WHO PRESENTED OUR DEMANDS IN A CLOSED DOOR MEETING WITH THE IGP. HE CONSTANTLY ENCOURAGED PROTESTERS ON SOCIAL MEDIA AND PHYSICALLY TO STAY SAFE AND REMAIN PEACEFUL.
They were also many other who led the protest in their various regions;
And also BBN Erica who brought food for protesters.