A Personal Odyssey Through Nigeria’s #EndSARS Movement
By: Sefa Mamu
In October 2020, Nigeria witnessed a historic movement known as #EndSARS, a peaceful protest against police brutality. The journey of one individual, me, in the midst of this awakening, tells a story of hope, unity, and the sobering reality that followed.
It all started on October 18, 2020, a date that would forever be etched in my memory. On this day, I found myself explaining to friends and family why I had to be part of the protest. We were meeting at the Jos Federal Secretariat. I began emphasizing the “peaceful” nature of our intentions. My mother’s consent, with the condition of returning before 6 p.m.
On October 19, the march began. The leader’s amplified voice echoed through the crowd, emphasizing the importance of social media and hashtags like #EndSARS and #JosEndIt.
We were a diverse group, drawn together by a common cause. As the march progressed, a sense of unity prevailed.
However, the day wasn’t without its challenges. My discomfort and morning fatigue led me to opt out of the roadside dancing and head home early.
Back home, I scrolled through Twitter, a routine that had become a daily ritual since “The Awakening” began. The photos and videos from the protest magnified the impact of our march. The trending hashtags indicated that protests were spreading to other cities. I couldn’t help but feel a sense of pride and wish them luck, even as I sought the comfort of sleep.
On October 20th, I woke up late, a rare occurrence for me. The passion that fueled my involvement had taken a toll. I opened Twitter and was met with cries, gunshots, and videos of people running. The Nigerian flag had turned into a symbol of tragedy.
The lump in my throat grew as I sobbed into my pillows.
As I reflected on my journey from explaining the need for peaceful protest to witnessing a movement turn tragic, questions loomed. Who was responsible for the violence that erupted at the protests? Why did the peaceful movement turn into a nightmare?
The dream of a Better Nation Revolution had turned into a nightmare, and the answers remained elusive.
In the wake of these events, Nigeria grappled with grief, anger, and a longing for justice. The #EndSARS movement had shone a spotlight on the need for change, but it had also exposed the deep-seated problems that plagued the nation.
The events of October 2020 left an indelible mark on the country and its people, a reminder of the power of unity and the challenges that lay ahead in the quest for a better nation.
– Sefa Mamu is a writer from Benue who resides in Plateau. She loves telling stories through her writing, drawing inspiration from the beautiful scenery around her.