United States’ Congresswoman, Barbara Lee has joined US-based Nigerian artiste, Ayo Manuel Ajisebutu and the global community to observe a candlelight vigil for the lives lost during the EndSARS protests.
Ajisebutu’s history of activism and constant call for love, peace, and unity dates back to the ’80s, and are reflected in his songs such as ‘Save Nigeria’ and ‘Africans Unite’ both released in 1991.
According to Lee, “The activists and heroes who gave their lives in an effort to end police violence and to bring a more peaceful inclusive Nigeria are not only important to Nigerians in Nigeria, but also important to me personally and the Nigerians in my community, and to everyone in my congressional district and throughout the country.”
She added: “The United States Congress is paying attention and we stand with you. I’ve joined with my colleagues to call on the president to acknowledge the demands of the Nigerian people to stop the violence and to lead real investigations into police brutality. We’ve also urged both the United Nations and the United States Department of State to support the efforts of the Nigerian people to demand justice, accountability, and an end to violence from their government.”
Lee encouraged Nigerians in America to call their Congressional representatives to urge them to co-sponsor “H. Res. 1216” (11/24/2020 House Resolution 1216), which condemns the use of excessive force by Nigerian security forces, calls for an investigation into the Lekki Toll Gate massacre in Lagos and other violations of human rights, and supports the demands of the EndSARS movement for justice, accountability, and meaningful police reform. The resolution was introduced on November 12 by Congressman Al Green (D) of Texas.
“Democracy depends on the right of people to publicly and peacefully demand accountability from their government. Young people in Nigeria are on the frontline of fighting for justice, just as young people are here in the United States of America. You are part of a movement that is standing up to demand an end to police brutality and injustice wherever it exists. So,I stand with all of you and the people of Nigeria to demand peace, justice, and respect for each and every human being,” Lee concluded.
The global vigil was promoted by Blend Forward, an organization founded by Prince Ajisebutu to promote peaceful actions that unite people for the good of all. Blend Forward urges Nigerian youths to wear a blue ribbon and and fly blue flags in remembrance of those who have died at the hands of police and soldiers, and encourages people everywhere to embrace these blue symbols until all who have been brutalized by either the police or soldiers receive justice. The blue ribbon is a declaration of self-love and unconditional love for all human beings and the environment.
“There’s a dark cloud over Nigeria and only love can cast it away,” Ajisebutu says. “The elders must humble themselves and embrace the crying youths and say we are sorry. We eat all the grains and that’s why you are hungry, but together we shall make your future better than the past, for this is a new beginning for all of us. From now on, the police and the soldiers shall be your friend. We shall make Nigeria a model for Africa and the rest of the world to follow as a country that is run with love.”