#ENDSARS: The women in frontlines

#ENDSARS: The women in frontlines

Between Kiki Osinbajo- self-acclaimed beauty guru, entrepreneur, and lawyer- and Zahra Buhari-Indimi, are no fewer than half a million Instagram followers.

Not surprisingly, this formidable audience was what the first and second children deployed in their support for the ongoing demonstrations against operatives of the erstwhile Special Anti-robbery Squad, SARS, in many parts of Southern Nigeria as well as the Federal Capital Territory, FCT.

As they joined voices with their contemporaries, it took another week before their respective fathers, the vice president, and the president respectively, articulated a clear reaction to the demands on the demonstrators, as encapsulated in the #ENDSARS.

READ ALSO: #EndSARS: African Union ‘strongly condemns’ killing of protesters

The Special Anti-Robbery Squad first became popular in combating robbery in Nigeria around 2006, and it worked at the time. Nigerians of another generation- mainly the baby-boomers and generation X- hailed the no-nonsense approach of the squad to robbery suspects, at a time when robbery and murder were the order of the day in most parts of the country.

But as the general state of security improved, SARS may have- with a view to redefining itself in the face of the loss in relevance- began an equally brutal and corrupt regime of extortion, graft, and barbarism, particularly targeted at young persons in the country.

His Imperial Majesty the Ooni of Ife, Oba Enitan Adeyeye Ogunwusi, a favourite with the youth took to his Twitter account Monday to declare: ” The #ENDSARS movement has brought nothing but joy to me. Finally, the youths are awake with one voice and a common goal.

As is usually the case, young persons, commonly known as youths have traditionally led revolutionary demonstrations in different parts of the world,  and the Aba Women Riots of 1929 and the Egba Women Riots in 1947 were the exceptions in terms of the mass participation of women in the history of street demonstrations in Nigeria.

While the SAP Riots of 1989 and June 12 Riots of 1993 featured a few brave Nigerian women, their participation as a social group in demonstrations in modern Nigeria has been insignificant.

The #ENDSARS campaign led by the #sorosoke generation is set to change that completely. Beautiful Zahra and Kiki were by no means the only young women to demonstrate, with a sleuth of them almost glamourising the demonstrations in Lagos,  Abuja, and Ibadan, mostly in trendy clothing and accessories, drawing young men into the streets that might not have wanted to join the demonstrations.

READ ALSO: #EndSARS: African Union ‘strongly condemns’ killing of protesters

The women of the entertainment industry were very well represented, featuring songstresses Tiwa Savage and Dija; and with Toke Makinwa turning up in designer clothing- for which she was severely criticized. Female comedian, the Princess,  continues to hold forte at the Lekki tollgate.

Nollywood’s Yoruba sweetheart, Toyin Abraham took care of things in the Oyo State capital, where an unprecedented number of youths turned out.

Perhaps the heroine of the era emerging out of the conflict is a human rights activist and politician Aishat Yesufu, who became the icon for the movement when she turned up in the streets with a hijab and trainers. Her partner in various social movements, Yemi Adamolekun, Executive Director, Enough is Enough movement has reeled out tweet after tweet after tweet.


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