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Dipo Awojide apologises for derailing Nigeria’s historic #EndSARS push

Mr. Awojide emphasises his commitment to #EndSARS, but his justification of a 2018 massacre undercut his appeal for public sympathy.

• October 14, 2020
Dipo Awojide
Dipo Awojide (Twitter)

Dipo Awojide has apologised to Nigerians for causing a dangerous disaffection that threatened to sabotage the ongoing protests against police brutality.

“However noble my intentions, they were misplaced, unrepresentative of our cause and has distracted from the goal,” Mr. Awojide said on Wednesday morning.” This is regretted.”

Mr. Awojide’s apology followed a collective backlash that greeted his since-deleted tweet of a list of those that should negotiate with the government to resolve the lingering impasse over the EndSARS campaign.

Mr. Awojide was also slammed as lacking the moral fortitude to be at the meeting, coming barely two years after he justified the massacre of Shiite protesters for purportedly daring the military.

Nigerians are still holding daily protests to push for a holistic reform of the country’s police, days after their initial demand to abolish the brutal SARS was met by the government.

In carrying out the campaign, protesters have repeatedly warned that they do not want anyone to represent them in a leadership position, emphasising the movement’s decentralised approach.

But some youth have been positioning themselves to become the face of the campaign, a controversial measure that Mr. Awodijide, a UK-based university teacher, appeared to support.

His apology this morning came barely a day after he joined other #EndSARS protesters to meet with CBN Governor Emefiele, Patrick Okowa, Jide Sanwo-Olu, Aliko Dangote and other politicians and businessmen.

The meeting, which held virtually, sparked nationwide uproar after Peoples Gazette exposed it on Tuesday morning, with protesters expressing outrage that some individuals have been meeting with billionaires and political elite to negotiate behind closed doors.

Mr. Awojide’s purported list, which left out Segun Awosanya and other longstanding police reform campaigners, became one of the most divisive takes since the start of the latest #EndSARS protests.

The campaign has grown spontaneously across the world, drawing the attention of A-list celebrities and countries. Protesters had always maintained that there was no leader for the movement.

Mr. Awojide’s list has heightened distrust amongst protesters as many are fearing that the movement might have been hijacked by persons with ulterior motives.

But Mr. Awojide strongly denied allegations of plotting against the protests, saying he supports Nigerians agitation towards a better police and country.

He expressed his determination to continue to support Nigerians in any capacity as may be required of him in the course of the campaign. He also remained amongst the strongest voices against injustice in Nigeria, although his support of the Shiite massacre in October 2018 has greatly defined his trajectory.

Mr. Awojide joined protesters who say they would continue with the protest regardless of infiltration fears.

Reports across the country on Wednesday suggested that the protests have continued in Lagos, Abuja, Warri and other key cities.

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