If you’ve seen the words Sars, #EndSars or Lekki trending on your social media account in recent weeks and in the last few hours, there is good reason for it. According to CNN, protests against police brutality in Nigeria took a turn for the worst on Tuesday 21, when Nigerian forces allegedly opened fire on anti-Sars protesters at the tollgate in the city of Lekki.
This comes after weeks of protests against the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (Sars) for their brutality and outrageous behaviour towards citizens they are meant to protect. Since the protests and the tragic developments which have emanated from them, celebrities all over the world have expressed outrage, calling for an end to the Sars unit.
LEKKI MASSACRE: HERE’S WHAT ALLEGEDLY TOOK PLACE
According to reports, thousands of anti-Sars protesters took up residence at the Lekki toll gate. They were allegedly conducting peaceful sit-ins, whereby they were praying and singing their national anthem when members of the army opened fire on them.
This came after a state-wide curfew was imposed and set for 21:00. According to CNN eyewitnesses, however, the shooting took place hours before the curfew.
A witness at the protests stated that the shooting began after the lights were turned off at the Lekki tollgate.
“Members of the Nigerian army pulled up on us and they started firing. They were shooting, they were firing straight, directly at us, and a lot of people got hit. I just survived, barely.”
Lagos State Commissioner for information Gbenga Omotoso took to Twitter on Tuesday regarding the shooting in Lekki.
“There have been reports of shooting at the Lekki Toll Plaza, following the 24-hour curfew imposed on Lagos State to stop criminals who hid under the #EndSARS protests to unleash mayhem on innocent citizens,” he said.
Omotoso said the Governor will do everything within his power to ensure that the lives of all Lagosians are protected at all times.
“He advises Lagosians to remain calm and not allow criminals, who have hijacked the noble protest of our gallant youths, to succeed in their evil plan of turning our dear state upside down,” he said.
“The State Government has ordered an investigation into the incident. Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu has advised the security agents not to arrest anyone on account of the curfew, which he urges residents to observe for the peaceful atmosphere we all cherish,” he added.
CELEBRITIES HORRIFIED BY SARS PROTESTS
Multiple well-known celebrities have taken to social media in recent days to express their shock at the Sars unit and the harm that was being directed at ordinary citizens.
After the Lekki massacre, celebrities were even more disturbed. Queen B herself, Beyonce, took to social media calling for an end to the Sars squad.
“I am heartbroken to see the senseless brutality taking place in Nigeria. There has to be an end to Sars. We have been working on partnerships with youth organizations to support those protesting for change. To our Nigerian sisters and brothers, we stand with you.”
Ava DuVernay, an award-winning filmmaker known for, amongst others, the thrilling series When They See Us, also took to social media regarding the Lekki Massacre.
The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) also released a statement on Tuesday saluting the “young lions of Nigeria” in their resolve to graduate their successful fight against police brutality under the banner of #EndSars.
“We call on the government of Buhari to exercise restraint and reign on its army and security services. The EFF calls on the South African government, the African Union and ECOWAS to send a strong message to the Buhari administration to desist from human rights abuse, arrests, detention and torture of protesters,” it said.