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A woman brandishes a placard during a protest to challenge impunity and gender-based discrimination raids on women by Federal Capital Territory and Nigerian Police, in Abuja on May 10, 2019.

#WeAreTired: Nigerians Rally Online to Demand Justice for Victims of Police Brutality & Sexual Violence

Artists like Tiwa Savage and Wizkid are being increasingly outspoken about sexual violence and poor leadership in the country, as Nigerians demand more action from their government.

Nigerians continue to demand that their government take fierce action against gender-based and police violence in the country, following a string of violent cases against young women.

The outcry is in response to the recent deaths of Vera Uwaila Omozuma, known as Uwa, who was killed in a church in a Benin City church and reportedly raped prior to being killed, as well as 16-year-old student Tina Ezekwe who was shot dead by police in Lagos who opened virus while enforcing a COVID curfew, and an 18-year-old woman known as Jennifer, who was raped by five men in Kaduna in April.

It is now being reported that another young woman, an 18-year-old student by the name of Barakat Bello, was raped and murdered in her home in the south-western state of Oyo on Tuesday.


This pattern of violence has prompted scores of Nigerians to put pressure on their government to take more action in investigating and persecuting the perpetrators of these heinous crimes. Many feel that the government has not been harsh enough in dealing with matters of rape and violence against women. There have been several cases recorded in which men who have been accused of rape have been let off with impunity.

These cases have spurred online organizing through hashtags like #JusticeForUwa, #JusticeForTina, #JusticeForJennifer, #StopRapingWomen and #WeAreTired, which have trended on social media for several days. However, many are taking the movement offline and onto the streets, with planned protests set to take place this week. The Nigerian-based site Zikoko Magazine put together a list of "Ways To Support & Advocate Justice For Rape Victims In Nigeria."

Several of Nigeria's biggest music stars including Wizkid, Tiwa Savage, and Don Jazzy have also added their voice to the fight for justice for the victims and have criticized the country's poor leadership. Commenting on the police killings of Black American citizens and police brutality in Nigeria, Wizkid wrote in pidgin: "Police dey kill black Americans and Naija police dey kill Nigerians. No man fit sort this matter. God save us."

In another tweet, he mentioned President Muhammadu Buhari—who has long been accused of acting sluggishly when responding to serious social and political matters—directly comparing him to Trump. "Buhari/Trump same person," wrote the musician. "Only difference be say one sabi use twitter pass the other. Clueless!"

Savage shared that she had met with officials and fellow artists to discuss the investigations. " Had a meeting today at the office of the Commissioner of Police with a few other artists," wrote the artist on Twitter. "These numbers [are] available if u have or have any information on any type of sexual abuse. We will also [be] providing information on the officer involved in the tragic death of Tina. #WeAreTired." She also shared a video, urging Nigerians to "keep the conversation going, until the right people...listen to us."

Buhari has condemned the killing of Omozuwa on Tuesday and ordered Nigerian police to carry out a full investigation into her death. Still Nigerians are demanding more widespread action and transparency from their government and are calling out a range of systemic issues such as poverty and lack of education. According to Punch Newspaper, Amnesty International has put pressure on the president to declare rape a "national crisis."






Interview
Photo: Benoit Peverelli

Interview: Oumou Sangaré Proves Why She's the Songbird of Wassoulou

We caught up with the Malian singer to talk about her new Acoustic album, longevity as an artist, and growing up in Mali.

When Oumou Sangaré tells me freedom is at her core, I am not surprised. If you listen to her discography, you'll be hard-pressed to find a song that doesn't center or in some way touch on women's rights or child abuse. The Grammy award-winning Malian singer has spent a significant part of her career using her voice to fight for the rights of women across Africa and the world, a testimony to this is her naming her debut studio album Moussolou, meaning Woman. The album, a pure masterpiece that solidified Oumou's place amongst the greats and earned her the name 'Songbird of Wassoulou,' was a commercial success selling over 250,000 records in Africa and would in turn go on to inspire other singers across the world.

On her latest body of work Acoustic, a reworking of her critically acclaimed 2017 album Mogoya, Oumou Sangaré proves how and why she earned her accolades. The entirety of the 11-track album was recorded within two days in the Midi Live studio in Villetaneuse in 'live' conditions—with no amplification, no retakes or overdubs, no headphones. Throughout the album, using her powerful and raw voice that has come to define feminism in Africa and shaped opinions across the continent, Oumou boldly addresses themes like loss, polygamy and female circumcision.

We caught up with the Malian singer at the studio she is staying while in quarantine to talk about her new album, longevity as an artist, and growing up in Mali.

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

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