Anglo Nigerian boxer, Anthony Joshua, has revealed that he never knew the EndSARs protests that happened in Nigeria was to fight against Police brutality.
He said that all he thought was that SARS meant Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome.
Joshua in an interview with Punch disclosed he never knew that the Special Anti-Robbery Quad existed because he had never been a victim of police brutality while in Nigeria.
The Sagamu indigene supported the movement after seeing pictures and Videos of Nigerians protesting against SARS on social media.
The EndSARs protest that rocked Nigeria in October 2020 was a fight against the illegal activities of SARS officers. The force was accused of extrajudicial killings, unlawful detentions, torture, extortion and various forms of abuses.
The Heavyweight champion of the world confessed that it was his Uncle who enlightened him more on the EndSARs movement and it made him aquire more knowledge about Nigerian history.
“I never knew what SARS was during my time in Nigeria; I never encountered SARS, so, when the movement started happening, I thought SARS was maybe like a virus, I didn’t know SARS. One day after training, my uncle called me and this was just before the issue of the Lekki toll gate, about five hours before it, he called me and told me about the situation on the ground. He told me the people of Nigeria loved me and wanted to hear my voice on it,” Joshua told Saturday PUNCH.
“I told him I didn’t know enough about it to talk about it and he said I should just lend my voice and bring awareness. So, I said if it’s what I can do for now, let me just lend my voice and bring my attention to it because I have a big platform. So, I just said it’s important to find a common ground because you can’t overthrow the government in a minute, but we need to find a common solution that will benefit the people.
“So I thought it was important for me to send out a positive message and shortly after that, about four hours later, people had been murdered at the toll gate. So, I said this wasn’t only about finding a common ground, this had to stop. But I didn’t want to go back on my message, I had sent a message out and I had done a lot more research about the #EndSARS movement.
“I also started learning about the colonial history, the structure of the political powers, the Hausa, the Yoruba, the Igbo. I learnt about the Biafra war, I learnt about Lady Lugard, I learnt about why Nigeria is called Nigeria – because of the River Niger and the area.
“So, I started doing a lot of research on the country and I found out that the country has so much potential, it is a country where people are thriving to be better and with the leaders, they need to put more into the people, and that is what the #EndSARS is about. It is not just about the police, it is about good government looking after the people, and that is what the people want and I am with the people, I am a man of the people, so I support what they say.
“And from that #EndSARS movement, it educated me what SARS was, it educated me about the issues in Nigeria, it gave me more. I felt proud to be a Nigerian because I learnt more about the country’s heritage after the #EndSARS movement,” he concluded.