The club tweeted a write up with a caption “Nigeria” with a green heart emoji, saying: “We see you, we hear you, we feel you”, to the Nigerian youths who have been protesting against police brutality, harassment, and extortion in the country under the hashtag #EndSars.
SARS was a police unit meaning State Anti-Robbery Squad alleged to have committed a series of crimes against people they were formed to protect. Some of the offenses linked to the unit included kidnapping, murder, brutality, arm robbery, extortion, and unlawful arrest of young Nigerians.
After weeks of protest, Nigeria’s government announced that the unit has been disbanded. Still, the protest continued after the announcement because the people did not trust the government’s commitment to end the impunity in the police.
So, on October 20, the Nigerian government allegedly ordered the Army to open fire on protesters at Lekki Tollgate in Lagos, South-West Nigeria. Scores were injured and about 12 people were said to have been killed in the attack.
During the height of the struggle, Nigerians who are followers of the official Twitter handle of Arsenal, have been tagging the club to tweet about the Endsars to add more weight to the advocacy. Arsenal finally reacted today, October 24 to the request of the club’s fans.
The club tweeted: ” To our Nigerian fans, we see you. We hear from you. We feel you. We have read our replies. We have seen the footage. We cannot imagine the pain.
“Our thoughts are with everyone in Nigeria. Stay strong. Stay safe.”
Nigeria 💚 pic.twitter.com/KWzRrKdOXg— Arsenal (@Arsenal) October 24, 2020
This did not go down well with Mesut Ozil’s fans who believe that Arsenal is practicing double standards. They argued that Arsenal decided to bench Ozil towards the end of last season until date because he spoke up against the killing of Uighur Muslims in China.
Recall that the German midfielder has been suffering a series of on and off at Arsenal since the reign of Unai Emery. Most of his fans believed that his misfortunes at the club started when he tweeted against how China has been killing and unlawfully imprisoning Muslims from the Uighur region of the country.
When Mikel Arteta took over from Emery, Ozil began to enjoy some game time again and suddenly, the Spanish tactician started benching him. It has gotten so worse that the 32-year-old midfielder was not listed for the club’s Premier League and Europa League squad for this season.
Though most analysts believe that Ozil is being punished for refusing to accept a pay cut when the club requested for it, Mesut Ozil’s fans believe that his solidarity with the Uighur Muslim in China which is not good for Arsenal’s revenue is why the club has sidelined him with a season left on his contract.
His fans kept stressing that Arsenal’s solidarity message to protesters in Nigeria is good but the club went against their principle of not getting involved in politics which the club is allegedly publishing Mesut Ozil for.
It was reported that Arsenal have a couple of business interests in China and the Premier League earns one of their biggest broadcast revenue from China. Hence, Mesut Ozil’s fans believe that the club can support protesters in Nigeria but punish Ozil for standing with an oppressed group in China because the club has little or nothing to lose from the Nigerian government and so much to lose from the Chinese government.