End sars


“Thursday is Thursday”

– Runtown

This was all we needed to reach our boiling point and take to the streets finally. This tweet woke up the youth in every state in Nigeria, and, subsequently, in countries across all habitable continents in the world.

This was the beginning of our journey to freedom, our journey to bring hope to the hundreds of families who had lost members to the Nigerian Police Force’s irrational brutality, especially the SARS unit. It was justice for the Iloanyas of the country.

The protest was the best thing I had experienced as a citizen of Nigeria. For the first time in my life, I was proud to be called a Nigerian, especially a Nigerian youth. We, the Soro Soke, Phone Pressing, Indomie, and Coconut Head Generation, were united. The religious and tribal and political lines that used to divide us were non-existent. The constant bickering on social media about gender was on hold; the Patriarchy FC and Feminist Coven sheath their swords as we all focused on a common goal: #EndSARS.

Young people in different states came out in numbers almost every day, sharing food, playing games, praying, and even practicing yoga while still demanding our rights. In all the days people protested across the country, nobody ever complained that a phone got stolen or a car vandalized; people returned lost phones and other items found. We cleaned up the streets each day, celebrity or not.

Our protest yielded the devil’s gift: the SARS unit got scrapped and was replaced with SWAT. Same people, different names. The protest continued, and we were met with more police brutality for protesting against police brutality. Jimoh Isiaq and many others died. Why would you use live ammunition on unarmed protesters? The aim is clear: sacrifice a few and let the rest cower in fear.

We ignored them and protested even harder. We demanded justice for the numbers added to their long list of atrocities. This was when the government decided to play the oldest hand in their playbook. They unleashed their greatest weapon – poverty.

Institutionalized poverty is the greatest asset of the average Nigerian politician. They use it to win elections, fight their enemies, and, in this case, win protests. The government deployed hoodlums to infiltrate the protest, to cause havoc, and blame it on us. These hoodlums attacked protesters, killing a few and injuring many others (RIP Anthony Unuode). They destroyed cars and other properties belonging to peaceful protesters. This carnage happened in the full glare of police officers and other security operatives.

Now, this is where it gets interesting. According to eyewitness videos, these hoodlums were transported with police vehicles, state-owned official buses and, the most shocking, a government-owned SUV complete with a well-dressed security officer. More videos have surfaced showing them being directed on what to destroy and what not to destroy because they belonged to ‘baba.’

One of the hoodlums graciously granted a peaceful protester an interview (celebrity things). He said they got paid N1500 to disrupt the protest by damaging government and individual properties. He also said he had been a victim of the SARS unit, and he had just been released from prison, but he needed the money.

Inmates in different state prisons were freed to discredit the #EndSARS protest and justify what later became the #LekkiMassacre. Military men attacked the most peaceful and fun protesters in the country who occupied the Lekki toll gate. They sat on the ground holding up the Nigerian flag, singing the national anthem while the military shot at them. The Nigerian flag was stained with the blood of the innocent. A courageous young woman, DJ Switch, got the events of that day on her Instagram Live. Many of us watched in horror as she and a few others tried to remove a bullet from the lap of one of our patriots, before he eventually died. Scores died, and the streets of Twitter are currently littered with pictures of missing persons.

Nigerian youths did not deserve what happened on 20-10-20. We were only asking that we stop getting extorted if we are lucky, or killed if we are not, by the police. Did it have to deteriorate to people dying like flies and people losing their homes and businesses?

When you release a beast to solve a problem, you create even greater problems, because you can’t tell the beast when to stop. These hoodlums have gone on a destruction spree, looting supermarkets and other businesses across the states. They have set fire to countless buildings and places. The country is in a state of chaos, and we don’t even know when it will end. I am sure these hoodlums were there peacefully during the protests, until they decided to use the weapon of poverty to pit them against their mates who were equally fighting for them.

Still, on this poverty thing, these people withheld palliatives meant for the citizens during the pandemic. Several warehouses have been discovered with thousands of food items stashed – I guess they were saving it to distribute during elections. They starve people to the point where they can buy their votes with a few packs of Indomie that were meant for them in the first place. One lawmaker justified keeping the palliatives intended for his constituents because he wanted to share it on his birthday, as per birthday giveaway abi souvenirs. They call us the Indomie generation, whereas they are the ones storing cartons of Indomie. Shame!

This country will not get better until we go to the grassroots and educate our brothers and sisters on the need to stop dancing to the tune of these wicked people in power. If not, they will continue to use them to sabotage our efforts for a better Nigeria.

The #EndSARS protest has played a significant role in unraveling the damage poverty and bad governance can cause in any society. It has shone more light on the fact that we are sitting on a keg of gun powder. The poorer the citizens are, the more dangerous it is for everyone. Some people in government have experienced this as some of their houses got raided and even burnt.

Dear Nigerian youth, we have started a movement that has gained international recognition. We cannot back down now. We must continue to demand justice for our brothers and sisters who have fallen due to police brutality. We must continue to fight for those who died protesting and the many whose lives were cut short on 20-10-20 and the days that followed. We must demand the punishment of the perpetrators of these heinous crimes against humanity. Most importantly, we have to take the campaign to the grassroots. We have to sensitize and ensure that our brothers and sisters who were paid  N1500, an amount that cannot buy a bucket of rice, begin to see the light. Let them know these people may have stolen their future but they can get it back, if not for themselves, then for their children unborn.

To all the people still protesting internationally, thank you. To the international press who covered what happened, thank you. To the Feminist Coalition, thank you. To all the celebrities and people across the world who lent their voices to our struggle, we love and appreciate you. Na who support us we go watch their film and stream their music.

To the Nigerian youth, thank you! May we continue to soro soke and demand for what is truly ours.

#EndSARS #EndSWAT #Endpolicebrutality #ENDbadgovernanceinNigeria.

A weird drama ensued at what was supposed to be a secret wedding between a married man and his probably ignorant bride as the former’s wife stormed the venue with her children and disrupted the ceremony.

“He even slept with me this morning!” – Woman storms hubby's secret wedding with children
“He even slept with me this morning!” – Woman storms hubby’s secret wedding with children

An interesting video shows her invading the church auditorium unexpectedly with a baby strapped on her back, at the time the bride and the supposed groom were standing before the altar and a huge crowd of attendees to receive the pastor’s blessing.

According to the woman, the supposed groom was her husband with whom she had children. She went on to allege that the man even spent the last night with her and the children, so she was surprised to see him tying the knot with another woman the next morning.

She added that she and her husband didn’t have any issues and they had not separated either, so she was taken aback to have learned and confirmed it for herself that he was getting married to another woman.

Source: Pulse ng

At this point, we all know the internet is a powerful tool. So powerful that a protest can be started online and then extended offline.

With the ongoing #EndSARS protest at its peak across Nigeria, many Nigerians have seen how potent the internet can be in stirring conversations around social issues, demanding for positive change from our leaders, coming up with new slang to buttress their points, and even crowdfunding to ensure that all protesters are well taken care of. But guess who has also ‘discovered’ the immense power of social media? The government. Those in political seats. Those in positions of power. Those who want the voices of the people to be silenced.

The power of the internet and social media is not new to Nigerian politicians, after all, in 2019, the Nigerian government tried to introduce the social media bill under the guise of curbing fake news. With the ongoing protest, the power of social media is, more than ever before, so glaring and there could arise an urgent need to block the internet or pass the bill.

So what do we do if we ever get to the stage where internet is blocked in Nigeria?

Use a VPN

virtual private network (VPN) gives you online privacy and anonymity by creating a private network from a public internet connection.

Surfing the web or transacting on an unsecured Wi-Fi network, or using  various social mediums means you could be exposing your private information and browsing habits. VPNs mask your internet protocol (IP) address so your online actions are virtually untraceable.

However, VPNs can differ from region to region, and it is important to know the safety and security of each specific network you choose to use.

In Nigeria, we have VPNs like ExpressVPN, NordVPN, CyberGhost, IPVanish and others. Please confirm their authenticity and security level before using any of them. Ensure it is also right for your device.

Use proxies or circumvention tools

People who are living under strict internet censorship by authoritarian governments have made good use of circumvention tools.

Circumvention tools will help you evade censorship and access the internet anonymously. Psiphon, an open source web proxy helps users skirt content-filtering systems. Psiphon has helped millions of people in freedom-restricted countries around the world safely access censored knowledge and ideas.

Tor defends you against tracking and surveillance. It prevents someone watching your connection from knowing what websites you visit. Tor tries to make all users look the same, making it difficult for you to be fingerprinted based on your browser and device information. It also isolates each website you visit so that third-party trackers and ads can’t follow you.

In short, Tor tries to prevent people from tracing your location or spying on your browsing habits. Tor is available for Windows, Mac, Linux, and Android.

Then there’s Orbot, a free proxy app that empowers other apps to use the internet more securely. Orbot uses Tor to encrypt your Internet traffic and then hides it by bouncing through a series of computers around the world.

Tails, a portable operating system, will protect you against surveillance and censorship. Tails includes a selection of applications to work on sensitive documents and communicate securely. Tails also uses the Tor network to protect your privacy online and help you avoid censorship.

Lantern uses peer-to-peer networks to get people in uncensored areas to share their Internet connection and servers with those without the same unfiltered level of access. It does more than that. If your favorite apps are blocked, you can download Lantern to easily access popular video, messaging and other apps while at school or work. It doesn’t end there,  Lantern encrypts all of your traffic to blocked sites and services to protect your data and privacy.

Before you use any of them, carry out enough research on the one that’s best suitable for you.  The government can sometimes use sophisticated technology to block these same sites or introduce jail terms for using them. We hope it wouldn’t get to this in Nigeria.

Protecting yourself digitally

Many of us do not pay attention to our cybersecurity. As you make use of the internet, you need to consider your safety and security, and protect your identity.

It starts with the easy things: ensure that all the sites you are using are delivered over HTTPS. This allows you to access the original site and not an altered version of it. You can install the HTTPS Everywhere extension in your browser.

Ensure you have an anti-virus software. This helps you remove malicious software from your laptop.

If you have not been clearing your browser’s cache, now is the time to put it into consideration. Never underestimate how much your browser’s cache knows about you. Your saved cookies, saved searches, and Web history could reveal your home address, family information, and other personal data.

Try to delete browser cookies and clear your browser history on a regular basis to protect that information that may be lurking in your web history.

Know where to seek help

What do they say about humans needing humans? If you engage in sharing sensitive information, especially the ones powers that be wouldn’t want you to share, it is important to know where to seek help when you are in trouble. For example, Access Now, is a site that runs a 24-hour digital security helpline. They advise users during emergencies, engage in global advocacies, bring the plight of arrested internet users to light and offer legal representation.

Although we hope that in Nigeria, we’ll never get to that stage where our online voices will be silenced, it is important to still ensure that as we carry out our day-to-day activities online, we protect ourselves in the process. Don’t get carried away. Ji ma sun.

Source: Bellanaija