United States Congresswoman Barbara Lee Joins Global Vigil for Victims of Violence Against Nigeria’s #EndSARS Movement

Barbara Lee
Barbara Lee

On November 15, United States Congresswoman Barbara Lee joined U.S.-based Nigerian-native artist, peace activist, and entrepreneur Prince Ayo Manuel Ajisebutu and the global community to observe a candlelight vigil for the lives lost during Nigeria’s violent military campaign against #EndSARS protestors. The #EndSARS movement calls for the dismantling of the state police unit known as the Special Anti-Robbery Squad, or SARS, and has expanded to broader calls for government reform and an end to police brutality.
“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 important to me personally and the Nigerians in my community and to everyone in my congressional district and throughout the country,” said Lee.
“The United States Congress is paying attention and we stand with you,” Lee continued. “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,” Lee concluded. “Young people in Nigeria are on the front line 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.”
The global vigil event 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 calls on 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,” says Prince Ajisebutu. “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.”
About Blend ForwardThe mission of Blend Forward is to unite humanity for common good of all. The organization’s first project is to build greater global awareness of the current #EndSARS protests in Nigeria. We shall continue to seek methods that unify people divided by religious beliefs, tribalism, and other divisive ideologies.
About Prince Ayo Manuel Ajisebutu Prince Ajisebutu is the Founder and President of MansMark Records in Los Angeles, California. In 1995 he organized rallies to save the Nigerian human rights activist Ken Saro-Wiwa and the Ogoni 9 from being killed by Nigerian General Sani Abacha. He later joined forces with Nigerians in Oakland and San Francisco area to form the Free Nigeria Movement. Their activities received the support of organizations such as Greenpeace, Amnesty International, and Rainforest Action Network. 
Prince Ajisebutu was the producer and presenter of Voice of Free Nigeria, a weekly radio show that urged Nigerians to take charge of their own destiny. The program was a vehicle for protests against the annulment of the June 12, 1993 Nigerian presidential election, unjust imprisonment of protestors, and other atrocities committed by the junta regime of General Abacha. Prince Ajisebutu’s history of activism and constant call for love, peace, and unity date back to the ’80s, and are reflected in his songs, such as “Save Nigeria” (1991) and “Africans Unite”(1991).
A social change agent, entrepreneur, and creator of the A.Y.ZERO clothing line, Prince Ajisebutu  says his personal mantras “Behave Royally,” “Love, Don’t Hate,” and “We are Connected” serve as blueprints for all of his business ventures, music, and creative endeavors: “I consider my work to be an evolving, expanding vision to create a better world, no matter what I am doing.”