EndSARS protest: disinformation circulating on the Internet

Posted by on Oct 23, 2020, Under: News

EndSARS protest: disinformation circulating on the Internet

Protests began earlier this month in Nigeria, urging authorities to dismantle a controversial police unit called the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS).

The story began to have a global trend, there were thousands of posts on social networks, but not all of them are real.

We’ve covered some of the misinformation that is circulating on the Internet.

Protesting woman whose brothers were not killed by the police

A vivid image of a woman named Ugwu Blessing Ugochukwu crying, holding a folded Nigerian flag and sitting on a statue has been widely circulated on Twitter.

Screenshot of a message on a social network tagged with False
The image is real and has joined the protests in southeastern Nigeria. But when the image was posted, people started adding misleading information.

“Not a brother … 3 … on the same day … killed and thrown into a well,” reads a widespread response to a post with a picture claiming that he lost family members at the hands of the police.

How protests against police brutality in Nigeria went global
When we contacted a representative of Ms. Ugochukwu named Gideon Obianime, she told us it was not true.

He said that Ms. Ugochukwu herself was briefly detained by SARS forces in 2018, but although she has siblings, none of them were killed by SARS forces.

“I think people started adding speculation to photography. She caused a lot of backlash. [over this]Obianime told the BBC.
Wearing the state flag won’t protect you from the army
Screenshot of a Facebook post labeled misleading
This unsubstantiated claim went viral: a soldier cannot shoot a man holding the Nigeria flag.

This has been widely reported on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, and some have suggested there is an unwritten military code on the subject.

The allegation seems to have come from a screenshot of a conversation in which someone says what their father, a retired army officer, told them.

Someone says in response: “I think this is the military code … You have to reissue for the demonstrators to see.”

There is no evidence of this, however, and some accounts have since deleted their posts after other online users indicated it was misleading.

Onyakachi Uma, a lawyer from Nigeria, told the BBC that there are laws to respect the national flag, but added: “Just because someone is holding a flag does not mean that [the army] I cannot act. “

We asked the military to find out if they were targeting the people with the flag, but they haven’t responded yet.

However, a Nigerian reporter told us that he requested information from a former senior official and was told that there was no such practice.

No, a senior Nigerian official did not describe the protests as child’s play.

Screenshot of a Twitter post called misleading
A few days after the protests, a video was posted online, in which one of the advisers to President Muhammadu Bukhari, Femi Adesina, apparently called them simply “children’s play.”

Many interpreted this to mean that the presidential adviser had dismissed the protests.

Next to the video was a message: “If you’re not angry enough, I hope this video helps you.”

But the video is old and has been edited out of context.

This is another series of protests held two months ago, and has nothing to do with the SARS problem.

At the time, Mr. Adezina talked about these protests on local television. But the video posted on Twitter has been edited to remove the intro, which would give the right context.

The relevant TV channel, Channels TV, posted clarifications on the video.

And Mr. Adesina himself made a statement in which he thanked the radio station for the clarification and said that the misleading video led to “blowing up his phone …”. curses, curses and messages from the hellish abyss. “

Fake mall incident that wasn’t fake
Screenshot of a tweet stating that the video was an old video.

And now an example of what happened, what was called false, although it is not clear who exactly was involved.

A video showing looting and violence at a shopping center in Osun state in southwestern Nigeria has been the subject of accusations and counter-charges in connection with protests over police brutality over the weekend.

A short video was posted on Twitter by All Progressives Congress UK – a group affiliated with Nigeria’s ruling party – claiming that anti-Sars protesters were looting.

But some online users who supported the anti-Sars protests rushed to close the video.

They said it had nothing to do with the SARS protests, but related to retaliatory attacks last year against South African companies linked to Nigerians who were targeted in South Africa.

Others claimed that the video was staged.

The video clearly identifies some of the shops in this location, and we found them to match the photos posted on the Osun Mall website.

The BBC spoke to one of the shopkeepers and someone who witnessed the attack, who confirmed that it happened.

In addition, this mall was only opened last December, months after the xenophobic attacks, making it impossible for a video to appear since then.

We have contacted state police to try to find out who was involved in the incident, but have not yet received a response.

Catholic bishops of Nigeria and protest against Sars
A tweet that used an old photograph of Nigerian Catholic bishops on the march.
Twitter, which has retweeted thousands of times, wrongly claimed that Catholic bishops marched in support of the protests.

Twitter contained a photograph of bishops in procession of people, most of whom were dressed in black, with some signs they carried.

But this photo is old.

A reverse image search reveals that it was in March when the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria (CBCN) held a protest in Abuja against the killings and kidnappings in the country.

The Catholic Bishops’ Union of Nigeria issued a statement in support of the SARS protests, but did not physically join any protests.