Footballers have voiced their support for the End Sars campaign in which they call for the end of police brutality in Nigeria
With news having emerged that Nigeria‘s military opening fire on citizens and killing 12 protesters, sports stars and athletes all over the world have voiced their solidarity in support of ending Sars.
But what is the End Sars movement about and which footballers are supporting it? Goal takes a look.
What is the End Sars protest about?
The End Sars movement is a protest fighting against the police brutality of Sars, Nigeria’s Special Anti-Robber Squad, which was launched in 2017.
Sars have been accused of several unjust arrests, discriminatory profiling, extortion and torture, which has led to and protesters banding together.
End Sars protests began in early October, with thousands of young Nigerians taking to the streets to peacefully protest the injustice of Sars’ methods.
The Nigerian military had opened fire on thousands of civilians who attended an #EndSars protest in Lagos, with the city’s state governor stating that it resulted in just one death.
Amnesty International, however, have confirmed that the Nigerian army and police had killed at least 12 peaceful protesters.
Though the unit was disbanded after several days of protests following tensions within the country, activists still believe that there is much left to be done.
“Opening fire on peaceful protesters is a blatant violation of people’s rights to life, dignity, freedom of expression and peaceful assembly. Soldiers clearly had one intention – to kill without consequences,” said Osai Ojigho, Country Director of Amnesty International Nigeria.
“These shootings clearly amount to extrajudicial executions. There must be an immediate investigation and suspected perpetrators must be held accountable through fair trials.
“Authorities must ensure access to justice and effective remedies for the victims and their families.”
Which footballers have supported the End Sars campaign?
Several athletes have spoken out in support of the End Sars protests , with the movement having several links to the world of sport.
Nigerian sports stars have a personal connection to the End Sars campaign since the death of Nigerian footballer Tiamiyu Kazeem in February 2020, with Kazeem having been killed by a hit-and-run driver after being stopped by Sars officers.
Izu Joseph, also a footballer, was shot during a community raid by law enforcement agents in 2016.
Victor Moses dedicated his first Russian Premier League goal for Spartak Moscow to the End Sars protesters in his native Nigeria during a 3-1 win over Krasnodar.
Brilliant win today and delighted to get my first goal for the club ⚽️🔥💪🏿
I dedicate my goal today to the people of Nigeria 🇳🇬 Enough is enough.
Nigerians have the right to protest and not be killed for it. #PrayForNigeria 🙏🏿 pic.twitter.com/zGsfLLgpRN
— Victor Moses (@VictorMoses) October 24, 2020
“Brilliant win today and delighted to get my first goal for the club,” Moses tweeted.
“I dedicate my goal today to the people of Nigeria. Enough is enough! Nigerians have the right to protest and not be killed for it. Pray for Nigeria.”
Other high-profile footballers both Nigerian and non-Nigerian such as Odion Ighalo, Tammy Abraham, Alex Iwobi, Wilfred Ndidi and Antonio Rudiger have also voiced their support for the protesters.
“Sending the military to kill unarmed protesters because they are protesting for their own rights? It’s uncalled for,” Ighalo said in a video posted to his Twitter.
“I’m calling the UK government and all the leaders in the world to see what is going on in Nigeria and help the poor citizens. The government are killing their own citizens.
“We are calling you guys in the United Nations to see to this matter. I want to tell my brothers and sisters back home to remain safe, be indoor and please don’t come out because the government are killers and they will keep killing if the world doesn’t talk about this.”
“#EndSARS for the safety of Nigerians… we are scared to visit home because the people who are meant to protect us are killing us. Looking good with dreads is not a crime,” wrote Ndidi.
#EndSARS for the safety of Nigerians… we are scared to visit home because the people who are meant to protect us are killing us. Looking good with dreads is not a crime..
— Ndidi Wilfred (@Ndidi25) October 10, 2020
— Alexander Iwobi (@alexiwobi) October 15, 2020
— Tammy Abraham (@tammyabraham) October 10, 2020
— Antonio Rüdiger (@ToniRuediger) October 10, 2020
The likes of Marcus Rashford, Mesut Ozil and Rio Ferdinand have also voiced their solidarity.
— Marcus Rashford MBE (@MarcusRashford) October 11, 2020
— Mesut Özil (@MesutOzil1088) October 11, 2020
Another day of traumatic scenes in Nigeria 😫
Sending My Love To Everyone Affected 💚
— Rio Ferdinand (@rioferdy5) October 11, 2020