Nigerian Christians Say Country’s End SARS Protests Are Not Like America’s Black Lives Matter Protests

The next few days will be important in determining the future of the End SARS protests, Nigerian Christians say.

On Oct. 3, a viral video allegedly showed members of Nigeria’s Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) killing a young man, according to an Al Jazeera timeline. The death triggered a nationwide series of protests demanding police reform.

Since the protests began on Oct. 8, at least 56 people have been killed. In the last few days, clashes between armed police and groups of armed men have escalated.

“The people are in shock and are devastated. There is much greater distrust in the government now,” said Nigerian Modupe Ehirim in an email to The Christian Post.

Ehirim is the founder of Nigeria’s The Right Fit Marriage Academy and a board member of Christian publisher Oasis International. She also has become involved in the protests after learning details about injustices committed by SARS that have been covered up by the government.

“Also devastating to the people, particularly Christians, is the ‘apparent accomplice role’ played by the Vice President [Yemi Osinbajo] who is a Christian and who many had hoped will speak up against the injustices,” said Ehirim, who clarified that she doesn’t believe the vice president is complicit, but some do.

Ehirim said she believes that the violent protesters are not actually civilians, but are government actors meant to discredit and intimidate the peaceful protesters.

“[The violence doesn’t mean] we should not back down from the protest,” she said. “It does mean that we would have to rethink how to go on from here.”

Although the End SARS movement isn’t a Christian movement, many of the protesters are Christian, she said. Some of Nigeria’s most influential Pentecostal pastors have supported the protests. Ehirim said her Christian faith compelled her to join the protest movement.

“Knowing what I knew about SARS and its destructive impact on individuals, families and our nation, I couldn’t stand back from participation in and support for the protests,” she said. “Although they started well and helped deal with armed robbery incidents, the unit regrettably became controversial for its links to extrajudicial killings, torture and other illegal activities.”

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SOURCE: Christian Post, Jackson Elliott

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