‘Empowerment and Hunger Reduction Program for Nigerian Women during Critical #EndSars Situations
Nigerian youths embarked on a peaceful protest tagged #EndSARS to demand the disbandment of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) unit, as well as, other reforms in the Nigerian Police Force (NPF). What started out as a peaceful demonstration by thousands of youths, degenerated into chaos after protesters where shot , some reportedly dead at Lekki till gate and other areas in the country.
The Birth of #EndSARS
The #EndSARS movement dates back to 2017, where Nigerian youths used the hashtag to share their experiences on violence and assault perpetrated by the defunct Special Anti-Robbery Squad. However, the movement only revived in early October, after a video emerged of police officers thought to be members of the SARS unit, allegedly killing an unarmed young man.
This prompted Nigerian youths to troop to Twitter, calling on the Federal Government for police reform with the hashtag, #EndSARS, #Endpolicebrutality, and many more. The hashtag trended continuously on Twitter as Nigerian youths aired their pain and experiences online.
Compendium of the #Endsars in Kwara:
Saturday, 17th October 2020
Youths in Kwara State and with the presence of the governor set out to join the protest calling for the disbandment of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) unit of the Nigeria Police Force, as part of the push for reforms in the police system to put an end to the extra-judicial activities of the agency. Youths were seen marching to the Force Headquarters at Ilorin and some other locations in the city, carrying placards with various inscriptions and slogans.This was the start of a 3-day protest that eventually turned violent and hijacked by hoodlums in the state.
The first major gathering of protests took place at the Challenge area and the popular bridge at railway Station, Ilorin on 21st October, 2020 disrupting the traffic after the news that protesters are shot at, at the Lekki toll gate.
There were also shootings between police and some miscreants who hijacked the Peaceful protest , these hoodlums believed to be members of some cult groups were reported around Station and post office area of the city. An unconfirmed report said one person was killed.
A 24 hour curfew was imposed after a mass looting of the warehouse which housed the COVID 19 palliative along airport road in the capital city of Ilorin. The Kwara State Government eased the 24-hour curfew which was earlier imposed on Monday, 26th October 2020, to now run from 6 pm to 8 am.
With curfews announced around Nigeria, the #EndSARS protests in Kwara have been halted. However, with the immediate after effect of the protest which can comfortably be said to be hunger and anger over the long maltreatment of the masses may have spored the youth into the attempted looting of the Costom’s barrack along Irewoleda – Ìdí road, Ilorin.
Warehouses where Covid-19 palliatives supposed to be distributed to citizens, were hoarded by politicians in different states where looted as people were seen in viral videos taking away food items. This ignited another round of violence , several people were reported to have been injured and some dead , according to a publication in Vanguard , Tuesday October 27, 2020( vol.27:No.64192) “Pregnant woman, 15 other looters die in clashes with security agents” 0ver 500 people have been arrested.
This restlessness pervades every conner of the city of Ilorin and especially the indigenous areas of Ilorin West local Government Area, which is the concern of this report.While paying attention on the Empowerment of Youths and the elderly during this critical time in Nigeria’s history, special attention need to be paid to girls and women who are most vulnerable and in danger of gender base violence in crisis areas. There is the urgent need for socioeconomic support from kind hearted individuals and organisation’s in the area of empowerment, provision of food and sanitary materials, making provision for easy access to accurate and useful information on Sexuality Education and easy access to Reproductive Health care services during critical #EndSars situations.
IRISE is taking this bold step , supported by Global Fund For Women , to empower and provide for women and girls in low income areas, especially villages and slums, who are mostly affected by the effect of the curfew , unrest which has resulted to lack , Hunger , exploitation, injuries , to reduce the harm of having women being arrested , injured or killed . And to enable access to counseling and referral through our 24/7 prepaid SHRH hotline.
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