Anthony Joshua said he thought the #EndSARs protests that rocked Nigeria in October were a fight against a Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome virus that also has the acronym for SARS.
In an exclusive interview with our correspondent, Joshua said that because he had never been a victim of police brutality while in Nigeria, he had never heard of the Special Anti-Theft Squad.
Joshua joined world stars in supporting the #EndSARS movement after Nigerians took to the streets to protest against the activities of SARS, whose agents were accused of extrajudicial executions, illegal detentions, torture, extortion and various forms of abuses.
The boxer said it was after his uncle drew his attention to the protests in Nigeria that he had to read more about SARS and Nigerian history.
“I never knew what SARS was during my stay in Nigeria; I never came across SARS, so when the movement started, I thought that SARS was maybe like a virus, I didn’t know about SARS. One day after training my uncle called me and this was just before the Lekki toll problem, about five hours earlier, he called me and told me about the situation on the ground. He told me that the people of Nigeria loved me and wanted to hear my voice. “ Joshua told Saturday PUNCH.
“I told him I didn’t know enough to talk about it and he said I should lend my voice and raise awareness. So, I said if that’s what I can do for now, let me just lend my voice and get my attention because I have a great platform. So I just said that it is important to find common ground because the government cannot be overthrown in a minute, but we need to find a common solution that benefits the people.
“So I thought it was important for me to send a positive message and shortly after, about four hours later, people had been killed at the tollbooth. So I said this wasn’t just about finding common ground, this had to end. But I didn’t want to go back on my message, I had sent a message and had done a lot more research on the #EndSARS movement.
“I also began to learn about colonial history, the structure of political powers, the Hausa, the Yoruba, the Igbo. I learned about the Biafra war, I learned about Lady Lugard, I learned why Nigeria is called Nigeria, because of the Niger River and the area.
“So, I started to do a lot of research about the country and I discovered that the country has a lot of potential, it is a country where people are thriving to be better and with leaders, they need to put more in people, and that is what #EndSARS is all about. . It is not just about the police, it is about good government taking care of the people, and that is what the people want and I am with the people, I am a man of the people, that is why I support what they say.
“And from that #EndSARS movement, it taught me what SARS was, it taught me about the problems of Nigeria, it gave me more. I was proud to be Nigerian because I learned more about the country’s heritage after the #EndSARS movement, ”he added.
Source: – Punch ng