The #EndSARs debate secured discussion in UK parliamentary house on 23rd November 2020.
Silas Ojo, a British Nigerian, had created the petition on 12 October 2020 in response to protests by Nigerians worldwide to end the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS).
It was not until the date, 20th October 2020, the day of the #LekkiMassacre did the petition become eligible for discussions in parliament.
How did it make it there?
For any petition to be created or signed at all, you must be a British Citizen or a UK resident, and to get any form of response you need at least 10 thousand or more people to have signed it.
If over 100 thousand people – over 220 thousand in #EndSARS case – it is automatically eligible for discussion in parliament.
Also, a petition may not qualify if the government thinks the subject matter is not within their remit. For a country like Nigeria who gained independence from The UK in 1960, there is vested interest. The UK has several ties with Nigeria, for instance they provide training and arms funds to Nigeria.
What the #EndSARS campaign protest is all about
EndSARs is a campaign to get rid of the Nigerian Special Anti-Robbery Squad – a special arms of the police unit. SARS were labelled bullies and murderers who used their power to intimidate civilians, particularly men aged 16 – 30.
The campaign began as far back as 2016, but significantly escalated in October this year after members of the unit killed a man and drove off with his vehicle.
As a result, protests took place in states across Nigeria, and in countries around the world. SARS was ended and SWAT was introduced.
Nigerians unconvinced by the change continued to protest.
On the morning of 20 October 2020, the Lagos Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu ordered a state wide curfew of 6pm to 6am from that same day. Many protesters at the Lekki ground chose to stay at the ground.
At around 9pm in the evening, lights went out at the protest ground, and armed military men began to shoot at the crowd. This was witnessed live by thousands around the world, as they tuned into the instagram live of a Nigerian leading DJ, Obianuju Catherine Udeh known as DJ Switch.
The following day the Lagos Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu in a conference announced there were no deaths at the protests – although there were deaths in hospitals posts the shootings.
Due to this, DJ Switch whose real name Obianuju Catherine Udeh was forced to flee the country and seek refuge in Canada.
CNN conducted detailed analysis of the night of events and unveiled evidence the government had been trying to hide.
Many citizens felt cheated and continue to mark 20th October 2020 as a day, they will never forget.Petition Parliament and the government [GOV.UK]