Twitter CEO Backs #EndSARS Protest

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By Vanessa Obioha

Late Wednesday, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of the microblogging site Twitter, Jack Dorsey, endorsed the ongoing protests against police brutality in Nigeria. Dorsey tweeted two publications that reported the protests and accompanied the tweets with the trending hashtags #EndSARS and the Nigerian flag.

He also shared a link where people can donate bitcoin to support the protesters.

His endorsement was lauded by protesters who used the social media channel to amplify the campaign against the disbanded Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad (FSARS).

However, the Founder of IPI Solutions Nigeria Limited, Adamu Garba II found his support offensive. He tweeted:

“Dear @jack,
It’ll do you a lot more good if you stay away from Nigerian Politics. You should know that the so-called #EndSARS protests have transformed into political agitation, capable of breaking law & order in our country. You should not be a moral & financial sponsor to this.”

Garba further tweeted that his support for a disbanded entity was a needless interference. “We cannot allow killings again in Nigeria in the name of protests.”

His tweets drew the ire of celebrities and citizens backing the protests. Insults and abuses were rained on him but Garba seems to have developed a thick skin.

Dorsey is among the growing number of international celebrities who have lent their voice to the protests. Others include music artistes like Canadian rapper Drake, American singer Trey Songz and British-Nigerian actor John Boyega.

Also, Hackers collective Anonymous tweeted late Wednesday that they have hacked multiple government websites in solidarity with the #EndSARS protests. The group did not list the websites of agencies it allegedly hacked. An audio of the group giving the government 72 hours to meet the demands of the protesters on a Twitter handle created specifically for Nigeria operations which is now restricted has gone viral.

The handle had shared a document that seemed to contain confidential information on police personnel. Their claim could however not be confirmed, as a top government official (who pleaded anonymity) claimed not to be aware of such.

The #EndSARS protest which kicked off over a week ago is gradually turning into a protest against the government and the need to address issues affecting Nigeria’s progress. Initially launched to campaign against the unjust killing of a young Nigerian in Ughelli, Delta state by the disbanded Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad (FSARS), it has metamorphosed into other agitations such as the reduction of salaries of lawmakers, the restructuring of the country, and security issues. Hashtags such as #OccupyNASS, #NewNigeria, and #NASSPayCutNow are trending on Twitter.
Despite government dissolving the notorious SARS and replacing it with a new police unit SWAT, protesters refused to back down. They outrightly rejected the new police force and occupied major streets in the country.

In some areas, the protests have turned violent. Reports of thugs attacking protesters and destroying properties are rampant.

In more ways than one, the protests appear to be a retaliation to President Muhammadu Buhari’s description of Nigerian youths as lazy. Not a few online and offline protesters have voiced their irritation at that adjective, claiming that the protest is evidence that Nigerian youths are not indolent.