The past two weeks have been a rollercoaster in Nigeria after what initially started as protests against police brutality and the disbandment of SARS metamorphosed into calls for better governance. SARS, then a unit of the country’s police force, has long been criticized for its rogue tactics, including extortion, torture and extrajudicial killings on innocent citizens.
The #EndSARS protests initially started as a social media campaign and at some point became a worldwide trend on Twitter. The protests inarguably and largely took authorities in Africa’s largest economy by surprise as several Nigerians mobilized and took to the streets in their efforts to double down on their demands – becoming one of the most unprecedented protests in the country’s history.
Though there were reports of excessive use of police force against protestors over the past couple of days, things took a turn for the worse, particularly in Lagos on Tuesday. Following the deployment of the army onto the streets after the state governor imposed a curfew, there were reports of soldiers opening fire and allegedly killing some unarmed protesters at the Lekki Toll Plaza.
The army denied the accusations in a statement despite claims by Amnesty International they had received “credible but disturbing evidence of excessive use of force occasioning deaths of protesters at Lekki toll gate in Lagos.”
Following the disturbances – which some Nigerians labeled as a “massacre” on social media – as well as the flaring up of tensions that were ignited in some states, the country’s president, Muhammadu Buhari, who has been largely silent throughout the protests, finally addressed the nation on Thursday but failed to mention Tuesday’s fatal incident in his speech.
Inasmuch as several Nigerians on social media expressed disappointment and sadness at Buhari’s speech, they managed to find some solace in humor from it, with some people sharing funny videos and memes, as well as expressing their desire to relocate to other countries.
Take a look at some of them below: