Violent protests have rocked major cities across Nigeria in recent weeks in the wake of protests against the Special Anti-Robbery Squad, and a young Nigerian footballer is displeased with the situation
Toronto FC star Ifunayanchi Achara is looking to offer a helping hand to people who suffered injuries during the violence that erupted following the military shootings of protesters in Lekki Lagos.
In an unprecedented move, youth across the country peacefully protested against SARS, the police unit that has long been accused of brutality and abuse of power.
The President Muhammadu Buhari-led federal government quickly ordered that the SARS unit be disbanded. Still, protesters insisted on seeing sweeping reforms of police and justice for victims of past brutality.
The tensed situation, however, degenerated into violence after military personnel shot at protesters, killing at least two with several others suffering varying degrees of injuries.
Enugu-born Major League Soccer forward Achara has watched from the United States happenings in his fatherland and has kicked off plans to help families in need.
The 23-year-old has set up a GoFundMe page with a target of raising $7,000.
Telling the Star that Nigerian youth can get in trouble for such mundane things as wearing dreadlocks, which he has, or carrying an iPhone, Achara is calling for a change.
“Stuff that doesn’t really make sense,” he said. “There’s no checks and balances.
“There’s no one checking this police to see how they are abusing their power. So the people are protesting, the people are angry. A lot of my friends and family, they’re home; they want things to change.
“A lot of people right now have lost their business. A lot of banks, ATMs have been looted. People are going through a lot of financial crises.”
Achara hopes to identify families in need and send them the money raised to buy food, medication, or get medical help.