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'I do feel helpless' How the protests in Nigeria are affecting one Idahoan

Posted at 10:33 PM, Nov 12, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-13 00:33:35-05

MAGIC VALLEY — After a video surfaced showing a Special Anti-Robbery Squad, SARS, police officer killing an unarmed person, protests broke out throughout Nigeria.

"The first thing I've been thinking of is the number of refugees that we have here specifically in the Magic Valley but in Idaho in general. Those refugees, some of them are coming from these places. We have students from Nigeria here at CSI and across several campuses here in Idaho," Justin Vipperman, a History professor at the College of Southern Idaho, said.

When the protests broke out, one Idahoan immediately called her family back in Nigeria. Her mother explained that her brother was out with friends when they heard the news, making them worry about his whereabouts.

"When I called my mom, and she was telling me, I was terrified because when she was narrating the whole story, I was like where is he? Where is he? So at the end of the day, I asked her where he was. Is he home? And she was like yeah, he's asleep right now, and I was like ok that's good," Thelma Anih, Miss Nigeria Idaho, said.

Weeks after the protests, Anih's family is still experiencing the burden. Her mother and brother teach a computer class, which is their primary source of income, but because of the curfew set after the protests, none of their students have been able to attend, which has been hurting them financially.

"That's their immediate source of income at this point, so it was tough. It's still tough because they still can't get students to come because of the curfew," Anih said.

And not being able to help her family has left her feeling incompetent.

"I do feel helpless, honestly. And from some people that I've talked to, they also felt very helpless. You can't do anything besides repost and talk about it and try to raise awareness," Anih said.

As Miss Nigeria Idaho, she uses her voice to encourage other Idahoans to do the same.

"We're not asking you to fight for us or anything. We're just asking you to lend your voice to be an ally," Anih said.