#EndSARS: Nigerian Sports Stars Speak Up in Support of Ongoing Protests
Nigerian sports stars have amplified their voices through the continued #EndSARS banner by revealing their own harrowing experiences with the rogue special police unit.
Nigeria's most prolific sports stars have joined the ongoing #EndSARS protests after revealing toBBC that SARS allegedly targeted several sports stars. This follows the continued countrywide public demonstrations which have called upon for President Muhammadu Buhari to completely disband the rogue special force unit. While Buhari announced on October 10th that SWAT will now replace SARS, Nigerians believe that it is a mere "rebranding" of SARS with the same officials. More recently, African-American celebrities, Nigeria's professional sports stars and Nigerians in the diaspora such as Canada, the US, Germany and England have protested in solidarity with the #EndSARS movement. Both Nigerian national soccer teams have used social media to amplify their voices.
In an interview with the BBC, Nigeria's national soccer team player, John Ogu, shared his experience with SARS saying:
''Everyone has a story about this Sars. You'll be driving your car and Sars will pull up in front of your car. At first, you'll think that they're armed robbers because of the way they are dressed, the manner of how they talk."
SARS' clashes with Nigerian sports stars has reportedly been the norm as demonstrations have revealed that they allegedly target "flashy" personalities and follow outdated biased profiling of Nigeria's youth. Peter Moreno, Nigeria's decathlon record holder, also expressed to BBC that he was targeted because he has tattoos and dreadlocks. SARS profiling allegedly includes targeting youth that appear to be queer as homosexuality remains criminalised in Nigeria.
The call to end police brutality is a collective one among Black people across the world. #ZimbabweLivesMatter and #BlackLivesMatter have both been prominent demonstrations this year that have highlighted the government's bias towards marshal law.
Take a look at just some of number of responses to #EndSARS from Nigerian athletes below.
Alexander Iwobi who plays for Everton and the national Nigerian soccer team.
International female basketball player Chiney Ogumike.
Championship winning boxer, Anthony Joshua.
National team soccer player and international soccer star Asisat Oshoala.
Nigerian track athlete Blessing Okagbare shared her support on Instagram.
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