Nigeria May Shut Down Internet Due to #EndSARS – Guardian Protests Continue

Posted by on Oct 15, 2020, Under: News

Nigeria May Shut Down Internet Due to #EndSARS – Guardian Protests Continue

Nigeria May Shut Down Internet Due to #EndSARS – Guardian Protests Continue

Since Nigerians are not holding back protests against police reform and the complete disbandment of the Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), it is speculated that the government could shut off the Internet.

Six days ago, video footage of the fatal shooting by police of a Nigerian man sparked outrage and rekindled a public call for the complete dissolution of the country’s controversial police force.

The video has led a large number of Nigerians, including celebrities, politicians and activists, to demand justice using hashtags such as #WarOnSars, #EndSars and #SarsAlert #SARSMUSTEND.

With celebrities adding their voices to the #EndSARS campaign, it has risen to the top of the global trend on Twitter and garnered international support from celebrities and soccer stars such as Kanye West, Trey Songs, Mesut Ozil and Marcus Rashford.

Nigerian superstars Wizkid and Falz, who are also part of this generation of protesters, were physically present at the protests in London and Abuja.

The protests against police were mostly organized on social media, fueled by citizens sharing their experiences of police brutality and videos of violent incidents, including beating civilians and shooting protesters.

The campaign shifted from social media to the streets of Nigeria, with protesters calling for an end to the unholy police unit and for major police reform.

However, protesters did not resign despite the disbandment of the infamous police unit, but continued to protest, noting the government’s ineffective promises of police reform and investigations in the past.

The activists were also able to organize funds to ensure their well-being during the protest using digital payment platforms.

But now there is speculation that the Nigerian government could shut down the protesters by shutting down the Internet as a covert move to divide the protesters has failed.

Protesters active on and off social media said they received calls from unknown numbers threatening to retreat.

In addition, the Feminist Coalition, the # EndSARS girl group, said its bank account had been deactivated.

“To call for an end to police brutality, we are now under attack,” the group said Tuesday on Twitter.

However, Nigerians speculate that the government may take harsh measures against social media to silence the campaign, as its counterparts in other African countries have done in the past.

For example, Chad turned off the internet in early 2018 despite international media campaigns against a deliberate crackdown on free speech in a landlocked African country.

“Chad ranks among the worst nations in the world in terms of protecting digital rights,” Internet Without Borders said in December 2018.

But Chad is not the only African country where government censorship of digital rights is being used to suppress free speech.

From 2016 to 2018, the authorities of South Sudan, Cameroon, Ethiopia and Somalia also shut down the Internet in their countries.

While Zimbabwe, Sudan, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo were forced to shut down the internet in 2019, Tanzania, Uganda, and several North African countries have strict minimum living standards for social media and digital publishing. …

Nigeria almost moved in that direction in 2019 when a law was passed in its first reading aimed at punishing people for certain social media posts proposed by the Nigerian Senate in 2017.

Mass media backlash prevented lawmakers from turning the law into law.

Activists also said that #EndSARS is missing from Twitter’s trending chart, despite thousands of people tweeting the hashtag.

Some have argued that the government could have forged the hashtag. This belief led to the birth of #SARSMustEnd.

Paradigm Initiatives Program and Media Manager Adegoke Adeboye said it was “possible” for the Nigerian government to turn off the Internet, but they hope it won’t come to that.

“The government responded to the protest in two ways,” Adegoke said.

“All good things, openly, he secretly attacks private companies that have provided their platforms to support the protest.”

He said the crackdown on Flutterwave could be the first step to silence active citizen participation in the protest.

“We all know what role the Internet plays in protests, and we can already imagine that someone suggested this to the government,” Adegoke said.

Adegoke also said that it is better for Nigerians to be prepared than to be caught off guard.

“Last April, PIN developed some guidelines to help citizens stay online in the event the government cuts the Internet.”

“The guidelines are still up to date and we are also working with some of our partners to help Nigerians stay online in the event the government cuts the Internet. The digital rights community already foresees this. “

Source: – The Guardianng


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