• Christie

7. AKWA IBOM ISONGO! #ENDSARS | CHRISTIE I. IDIONG M.S.

Today I’m bringing you another solo episode where today I talk about why my people are taking to the streets to #EndSARS.


No, not the airborne virus…the systematic one.


End SARS. As a Nigerian-American I am feeling 2 sets of emotions right now.


First, my heart hurts for the pain and suffering that is currently occurring and has been taking place for decades.


Second, I feel an immense sense of pride watching my brothers and sisters take a stand American style. What do I mean by that? I mean that the United States of America was built on the power of assembly in protest. Hence why it’s called the “Revolutionary War” not the “Niceties War”


This past October 1, 2020, Nigeria celebrated its 60th Independence Day. However, we did not achieve stable democracy until 1999 (I was five). Prior to this, the government waffled between democracy in which government officials were selected by election and military dictatorships.

  • As a federal republic, Nigeria is composed of 36 states with Abuja as our capital and Lagos as the largest city. (THINK: New York City, but even more vibrant).

  • With various tribes come various languages (525 to be exact), but the official language is English. This comes from decades of being colonized by the British.

  • We best known for:

  1. Oil. We are the 12th largest producer of it. It makes up 70% of the government revenue and 95 percent of the foreign exchange income.

  2. Our entertainment. Movies. Music. Throwback to the summer of 2017, walking down the street and hearing the afrobeats of Davido as cars passed by with their windows down.

  3. Our excellence in athletics. In 2018, made our stamp in Olympic history as the first African nation to participate in bobsledding. Not to mention when she is not competing as the driver of the Nigerian Bobsled team, Dr. Seun Adigun (Pronunciation: She-oon Addy-goon OR Shaun Addy-gin) is a practicing doctor of chiropractic. #WomenInSTEM

  4. 2018 was a huge year for the Nigerian-American. In 2018, “61% of Nigerian-Americans over the age of 25 held a graduate degree compared to the U.S.-born population... among 45% work in education and many are professors at top universities” Healthcare, Entrepreneurs, CEOs we are a breed of excellence in whatever it is we decide to enter.


Unfortunately, with the positives, we are also known of the negatives. The kidnapping of hundreds of Nigerian girls. The terrorism of Boko Haram. The corruption of politicians.I wanna talk about that corruption.


And as I said before, the Nigerian government waffled between the structures of democracy and military dictatorship. Though democracy prevailed there are still remnants of colonization and military dictatorship that is permeated into today’s regulation of the law. It is projected through the Special Anti-Robbery Squad or as it’s more commonly referred to now by citizens (both domestically and globally) SARS. A group originally was formed in 1992 to fight violent crimes of theft, armed robbery, kidnapping...is instead a group that has been using its position of power to extort, abuse, harass, detain, rape, steal from and kill its own people. Innocent people. Profiling young citizens with nice things, nice cars, nice clothes…


It is the transgressions of SARS, that has driven young Nigerians to the streets in droves calling for disbandment of the notorious police unit through what began as peaceful protests has now turned violent with security forces fulfilling orders to fire live rounds into the crowds of young protesters killing 12.


President Buhari has called for an end to the protests.


The people in power... suppressing opposition from the citizens they serve as they exercise and protect their constitutional rights.


Sound familiar?


#EndSARS movement began as the call for the dissolvement of SARS. It has now evolved in the demand of ending police brutality. A call to end legalized extortion, abuse, and harassment from officers claiming to protect and serve.


Changes...that activists have been asking for, for years....

And it’s honestly like looking in a mirror.


Don’t listen to what I am saying and think because it is in Africa, or that it is overseas that it is not something to care about. Because as we were hurting here in the States at the peak of #BlackLivesMatter protests in the summer, numerous countries took it upon themselves to join in solidarity organizing #BlackLivesMatter marches of their own.


I like to think that other countries are feeling empowered to speak out against the wrongs of their policing systems and wanting better from their government watching the #BlackLivesMatter movement in the States.


I want something to be VERY clear. It is the Nigerian YOUTH heading this. It is the YOUTH are powering these efforts and the older adults are suppressing it...And it’s a theme. Just last week my alma mater held a peaceful protest facilitated by 4 student organizations. That’s right. The STUDENT organizations. It is the youth that are identifying these issues and moving full steam ahead toward dismantling the structures that allow these horrific acts to flourish.


Now, there are different ways to show support other than going to protests.


Stay educated on the news in Nigeria surrounding the protests and the progress of change being asked for

  1. Amplify the voices of Nigerians (use the #EndSARS and #EndSARSNow on social media)

  2. Donate to verified organizations

  3. Share fact checked information

I’m putting a link in the show notes to help you do just that.


I also want to take this opportunity to encourage everyone to educate themselves on what exactly #DefundThePolice means. Just as Martin Luther King Jr. (‘Letters from a Birmingham Jail’). said, “Injustice ANYWHERE is a threat to justice EVERYWHERE” ...Police brutality ANYWHERE is a danger to citizens EVERYWHERE. We need to hold officers accountable and we need to provide adequate funding into services such as counseling services, housing, youth services, education, and public health that can lower crime rates.


Make sure to get out there and vote.


*FACT CHECK*

All facts have been hyperlinked within the transcript.

I am a first generation Nigerian-American so my emotions are really in 2 buckets right now.


Recommendations

  • Donate to the ‘Abuja’, Feminist Coalition, Verified GFM, Diasporans Against SARS, or Assata Collective support medical help for those who were injured and food.

  • For more information and resources on how you can support the #EndSARS movement visit https://endsars.carrd.co/

Social Media

Check out my website and follow Cornerstone on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram


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