The mood at #EndSARS protest grounds across the country got pensive on Friday, October 16, 2020, as protesters paid tribute to deceased victims of unjust police killings in Nigeria with candlelight ceremonies.
The vigils also called Festival of Lights held at the Lekki Toll Gate and Alausa venues of the protests in Lagos while protesters in Abuja, Bayelsa and Port Harcourt also honoured those who have died from illegal police killings.
At these different locations of protest, prayers were dedicated to the souls of the departed victims.
At Alausa, there was a big projector that beamed videos of police brutality in Nigeria while a slew of protesters in Abuja got on the microphone to read out horrible tales of how some of these victims lost their lives.
The most chilling of them all was the story of Chijioke Iloanya, a 20-year-old boy who is still missing eight years after he was arrested by police in Anambra State.
His sister Obianjuju addressed the crowd at the Festival of Light and narrated how James Nwafor, the Officer in Charge of the state command’s Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) failed to produce her brother even after extorting millions of Naira from them.
To make the story more horrible, Obianjuju recalled that Nwafor made her father swim in a river filled with corpses while in search of Iloanya who is still missing till today.
Nwafor until recently was working with Anambra State Governor Willie Obiano who has sacked the former police officer and made him available for arrest and prosecution for his alleged crimes.
The biggest crowd was recorded at the Toll Gate in Lekki, Lagos where protesters sang together to honour these victims.
The vigil across the country is another way protesters are bringing attention to police brutality in Nigeria.
Although the #EndSARS protests started to call for the end of the SARS unit of the Nigerian Police, the demands of the protesters have become broader and now seek for the complete reform of the Nigerian police.
The Inspector-General of Police has disbanded the SARS unit but the protesters want more actions including the arrests and prosecution of officers who have unjustly killed innocent Nigerians.