Nigeria has taken over the internet, but why?


Protests in Nigeria have gained international support through social media platforms.

Jaxen Waggoner, Copy Editor

Nigeria, the seventh most populous country worldwide, consisting of 200 million people, has erupted in protests and swept the internet with the #EndSars movement. 

The Special Anti-Robbery Squad, acknowledged as SARS, was assembled in Nigeria in 1992 to handle crimes correlated with robbery, kidnapping, motor vehicle theft, firearms, and cattle rustling. 

No matter how prestigious this police force intended it to, it has become a corrupt abuse of power resulting in many human rights violations like illegal arrests, killings, rape, and abuse of women and young children, amongst other horrific felonies. 

Philomena Celestine, a Nigerian 25-year-old woman, was driving home two years ago when some police officer pointed their guns towards the car and forced her brothers out and harassed them in front of young girls. They accused the brothers of being cybercriminals without evidence. 

It is instances like this that leave the Nigerian people to feel as if they are viewed with a feeling of contempt which fuels the fire that is the #EndSARS movement. 

On Oct. 3 a video of this behavior went viral. The video exhibited the unlawful murder of a man by the SARS force in Ughelli, a southern town. 

In an attempt to placate the situation, Nigerian officials claimed the video to be fake which only resulted in more anger. 

Nigerian youth then exploded in protests on Oct. 7. In just over two weeks, protests have taken over. 

On Oct. 11, it was announced two police officers had been fired and SARS was dissolved. The protests were replaced with cheers– but not for too long. 

Seeing as the Nigerian government has promised police reform three times previously there wasn’t much hope in the empty promise it seemed to be. 

As protests continued, President Muhammadu Buhari pleaded that they clear the streets. As heard from his latest speech, “Your voice has been heard loud and clear, and we are responding.” 

Even so, thousands of young voices have remained in the streets, even after a 24-hour curfew was set, demanding justice. 

With the combination of viral videos and trending hashtags, the danger of misleading information has come centerstage. 

Whether a picture of a young girl with incorrect information on her brothers’ deaths, incorrect military codes, or fake riots, the countless amounts of information on the internet is something to be wary of. 

Nevertheless, another hashtag got into the limelight: #LekkiMassacre. 

On Oct. 20 just after dusk, protesters, by the Lekki toll gate plaza, reported the streetlights suddenly went out. The crowd was singing the national anthem when bullets were heard. 

After the event, the governor has reported 30 injured in the shooting, and one dead in the hospital later on due to blunt force to the head. It was unclear whether or not he was a protestor. 

This only further angered the citizens because allegedly there were many found dead. 

The day after, the Lekki toll gate was stained with innocent blood.

Even with the shooting, protesters fill the streets, many there for the first time, still demanding change.

Only the future knows whether or not these Nigerians will get the peace they deserve.