The #endSARS protest which birthed the slang ‘#sorosoke(speak up)’ all started from a Twitter trend where a lot of Nigerian youth took to their social media account to lament and demand the disbanding of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) unit of the Nigerian police force.
The Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) had been tagged to be a very notorious unit of the Nigerian police and have been accused of several atrocities which is against it initial reasons for creation which was to detain, investigate, and prosecute people involved in crimes like armed robbery, kidnapping, and other violent crimes. The unit is now being dreaded for doing the same thing which they are supposed to protect the people against and they are accused of violations of every human right ranging from illegal “stop and searches”, illegal arrests and detentions, extrajudicial killings, sexual harassment of women and brutalizing of young Nigerian men.
Many of the scandals of the unit has surfaced online and were documented in trending videos on social media. while many Nigerian youths are victims of these scandals especially young men, Nigerian celebrities and music artistes are not left out because many have at one point or the other been faced with these armed men in uniform actually backed by law.
Although many Nigerian youths have always wanted to speak up about the harassment, they were all just waiting for the opportunity even there had been many agitations to protest against the violence and killing by the squad. It all started when controversial singer Naira Marley said he was going to lead a protest and that he will hit the street with his people.
Not knowing what to expect though, many Nigerian youths were ready to join in the protest while many were silent about their thoughts on the matter, deep down they were already screaming at the top of their voice. It all came out as a disappointment when Naira Marley said he wouldn’t be leading the protest anymore due to some personal reasons.
Ofcourse he would have gotten the support of his fellow celebrities if he still made the move. He tweeted that if he raises any protest that he would find himself at Kirikiri (one of Nigerian dreaded prison) and he also said his mum forbid him to protest. This all was as a result of some hidden threats from the government. There was also a rumor that artiste 2face idibia was also threatened not to partake in any protest.
Upon seeing this happend another popular music artiste Runtown who seems to have no affiliation with the politicians and also seems to be fed up of police brutality seconded the movement that the protest must be held. His supporters were quiet ready.
What made the movement louder was when another popular rapper Falz joined Runtown and gave his full support that the protest must be held. Although his father Femi Falana who is a lawyer and human right activist has been challenged before when he talks down on Nigerian youth for not speaking up for themselves. That his son should be at the forefront of the protest if he truely means the change he is talking about.
Falz has always addressed many of Nigerians social and political issues in his song and several time spoken the truth and against the bad systems in Nigerian government, he needed to go beyond just singing, on this note he decides to show what he has preached in his music. Like many other artiste who had sang against bad governance, the #endSARS protest is different has it has the support of major artiste in the industry unlike during the time of Fela who seems to have been very controversial and single handedly singing against bad government till he passed on.
It seems his burial has led to the germination of many seeds who are taking up his mantle from where he has stopped. Little did the Nigerian government know that the #endSARS protest would be such a massive movement upto the point where there was international demonstrations in solidarity with those happening in the country. It was beyond the protest, Nigerians were very angry about the way the Nigerian government has been treating her citizens.
Many other celebrities began to lend their voices to the movement and many where forced out of their shell to speak out the truth. Citizen didn’t hold back to call out big artist and celebrities to speak up against what they all are victims of. One major facts was no one knows who was next to be killed by police brutality that was raging the country.
Naira Marley was slammed for his moves. Burna Boy was baptised with backlash from Nigerian because he had made some controversial comment against Nigerian youth. Although Burna Boy also made music against bad governance, it took him time to lend his voice to the movement.
Wizkid earlier has a controversial tweet with the president where he was replied for calling the presdient too old to lead. He was also seen protesting outside the country. Many music artiste and celebrity took the protest to their states and hometown to support their locale.
As the movement grew across various states in the country, Artiste outside the country didn’t hesistate to mobilize Nigerians to protest outside the country as they could not make it back to the country. Wizkid protested from London, Burnaboy was also seen protesting in London. Zlatan Ibile was part of the mobilization in Ghana.
The #endSARS protest revived many old song against bad governanace. Veteran artiste like eedris Abdulkareem was seen performing his popular song ‘Jaga jaga’ where he sang about the state of confusion and chaos in Nigeria. Some of Fela song were played on the protest ground in solidatry along song by reigning artist like Timi dakolo, Falz, Psquare and the likes.
One particular song that seems to blend with the portest was #Fem by davido. although the song had it ulterior motive but the significance of what it meant ‘Keep silent’ was directed towards the protest. It was particlarly used when the Lagos state governor Babajide Sanwoolu tried to address youth at the protest at lekki toll gate. The youth sang the song in solidatry while the music Dj played through speaker. The song was used to shun the governor from addressing the youth and telling the government to keep shut and stop telling lies to the youth as they were all fed up of the lies and corruption in the system.
Davido was also part of the protest at the Federal captial territory Abuja. He was sad about the situation of things in the country. There were viral tweets from many A list artiste and small and upcoming artiste. Infact the protest had the full support of all of Nigerian music artist and lot of other celebrities in the entertainment industry from comedians to actors and actresses, influencers and many more
Major players in the media industry were oppressed not to make any statement or air the issue, but overtime they were forced to speak out. Tweeter gave the protest more edge as many of the celebrities who were not seen on the protest ground made use of their media account to speak up. Dj switch was also a major player in the protest and will not be forgotten for the part she played in taking video coverage of #BlackTuesday were protester were shot by the nigerian military men.
The nigerian music industry has shown that there is power in music and we can live together in harmony. The Nigerian music industry has brought about positive impact in the Nation. Nigeria will be great again