With each new week, the internet gives us a new reason to talk, to be privy to recent developments, and most importantly to share our point of view on these developments. Whether it be a snarky jab at the feminist movement or a monumental move towards inclusivity for people with disabilities, there is always something we care deeply enough to talk about. So here are a few of the issues, across feminism, gender equality, sexuality, disability, and others that had us talking this week.
1. Young Nigerians are taking their #EndSars campaign offline and into the streets.
What began as a thundering wave of online protests have morphed into one of the country’s most important cultural moments. A number of young Nigerians including celebrities begun the #EndSARS protest on October 8, an action that has sparked off several other protests across the country. This movement is focused solely on the complete scrapping of the Police’ Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) notorious for indiscriminate arrests, killings, and extortion of young Nigerians, especially men, perceived to be criminals.
2. Even at protests centering men, women still get harrassed.
Nigerian women, una dey try. You go to a protest to stand up for Nigerians & you still have to deal with disrespect , harassment & assault. We’re big enough to put aside whatever issues we have & go out on the streets, but big of us to have expected same tbh. We move #EndSARS
— ebele. (@ebelee_) October 10, 2020
It is rather disheartening to see this development springing up in this movement. A number of Nigerian women, who aren’t often the central target of SARS brutality are being harassed at protests they banded together to attend and support. This trend is not only devastating, but it is also sad.
3. ₦50 million Appeal: Senator Elisha Abbo appeals court order.
A most dampening part of this week was the news around Senator Elisha Abbo’s court appeal. Writing off the case as a simple assault, the Senator minimised the situation, with the authority that comes from people with enough power to twist situations into whichever way they choose.
As this nonbinary article explains, “It would be convenient to say that Abbo doesn’t fully understand the gravity of what he did. That would fall in line with the numerous excuses society mandates that we come up with. ‘So many abusive men can still be human,’ they say. So that powerful men can still be given a chance and not completely held to account for their deeds. No, it would be too convenient.”
4. Nigerian women and queer folks have been a primal part of the protests, what would it look like when it is time to fight against the homophobic law or rape.
As the protests continue to gather heat, a notable part of this movement has been the unchecked support Nigerian women and queer folks have been pumping into a cause that mostly affects cishet-presenting Nigerian men. Yes, queer folks are also at great risk too, especially effeminate men and masculine-presenting women, but there have been no questions about fighting side by side with people who aid LGBT community oppressors or are sometimes, the oppressors themselves. So, the question remains that when it is time for women or queer people to protest against the oppression that affects them the most, will there be this much support?
look at a WOMAN on the forefront of a fight against an organization that oppresses (mostly) nigerian men. and then i think about nigerian women and how we are treated by these same men. na wa. https://t.co/KjaUzLBMiB
— fuji 5k (@n0manaz) October 9, 2020
5. Abusive artists continue to find support from fans who see nothing wrong with their behaviour.
Earlier this week, after Lil Frosh’s label contract was terminated, and it was sad to see a huge number of Nigerians decrying the decision made by the label owned by Davido. There is no way we can make huge social advancement if we are quick to cover abusers and make allowances for their horrible actions. The point remains that he has been called out for his deed and hopefully will have no power to access women who he can abuse ever again.
Nelson C.J is a culture writer with works in The New York Times, Xtra Magazine, OkayAfrica, Black Youth Project, AfroPunk, and a few other spaces. You can find him saving dog pictures on Twitter.