Influence Of Social Media In The Mobilization Of Youths For The EndSARS Protest In 2020 (A Case Study Of Twitter)
This study was carried out to to examine the influence of social media in the mobilization of youths for the endsars protest in 2020 (a case study of twitter). Specifically, the study was aimed at at finding out the role social media played in stimulating the ENDSARS protest in Lagos State; ascertain the various social media platforms used to facilitate the EndSARS campaign; discuss the social media strategies adopted by the protesters during ENDSARS protest; and determine the efficacy of the EndSARS protest on police brutality. The study employed the survey descriptive research design. Questionnaire was used for data collection and was analysed using the frequency and percentage. A total of 388 respondents were conveniently selected as sample size comprising of residents of Lekki. Out of the 388 respondents, 259 responses were validated from the survey. From the responses obtained and analysed, the findings revealed that the role social media played in stimulating the ENDSARS protest in Lagos State include: political education, sensitization and information dissemination and youth mobilization. Also, the findings revealed that the various social media platforms employed in facilitating the EndSARS campaign in Lagos State were Twitter for interactive content and user generated content, Instagram for video and image content, and Facebook for live visual content.
Further more, the various social media strategies adopted by the ENDSARS protesters during the ENDSARS protest according to the findings includes the no leadership strategy, the hashtag# strategy, the funding strategy and the EbdSARS Logo initiative and allegiance strategy. The findings also revealed that ENDSARS protest against police brutality in Lagos State were effective in the way that the protest brought about police reformation, it also brought about dissolution of SARS, and also brought about the prosecution of identified officers. On the basis of these findings, it was recommended that the federal government of Nigeria should look into the reasons behind the protest that caused chaos and uproar in all the 36 states in Nigeria and enact laws and structures that bring to an end the brutality of SARS in Nigeria. Also, the government of Nigeria should endeavor to orientate the SWAT properly so that they will not be like pouring new wine in an old wine skin. That is the SWAT being another version of SARS. Moreso, the federal government of Nigeria should carry out a thorough check on all members of the SWAT force and their academic qualifications to ascertain their eligibility for the work. The Federal government of Nigeria should always endeavor to protect the human rights of the citizens taking to note that the Lekki shooting was a gross abuse on the rights of civilian citizens of the country.
Keywords: Social Media, EndSARS Protest, Lekki Shooting, Police Brutality
1.1 Background of the Study
Police Brutality or extreme utilization of power backed up by law is a social infringement involving the use of force by police officers against subjects of a country or specific regional area (Amnesty International, 2014). Utilization of torment as inquisitive strategy and other wanton maltreatments of basic freedoms stay a portion of the significant imperfections of the Nigeria Police Force which has pulled in open enmity, abuse, and judgement to the Force (Aborisade & Fayemi, 2015).
The Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) was established in late 1992 by previous police magistrate Simeon Danladi Midenda when Col. Rindam of the Nigerian Army was executed by cops at a designated spot in Lagos in September 1992, later prompting the capture of three officers. When the data arrived at the military, soldiers were dispatched into the roads of Lagos in search of any cop. The Nigerian police pulled out from designated spots, security territories, and different focal points for crooks; some cops were said to have resigned while others escaped for their lives. Because of the non-attendance of police for fourteen days, the crime percentage expanded and SARS was framed with just 15 officials working in the shadows without information on the military while checking police radio chats.
Due to the presence of three previously settled enemy of theft crews that were operational around then, Midenda expected to recognize his crew from the generally existing groups. Midenda named his team Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS). Following quite a while of dialogue the Nigerian Army and the Nigeria Police Force came to an arrangement and official police obligations started again in Lagos. The SARS unit was authoritatively charged in Lagos following a truce by the military after settlement and was one of the 14 units in the Force Criminal Investigation and Intelligence Department, which was set up to keep, examine, and indict individuals associated with crimes such as armed robbery, kidnapping, and other violent crimes.
Torture, is described as one of the most extreme forms of violence, resulting to both psychological and physical consequences is sometimes considered as an indispensable interrogation mechanism for gathering strategic intelligence (Constanzo, & Gerrity, 2009) . Worried by the incessant reports of human rights abuse of the members of the Police Force, the Former Inspector-General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, once warned the Special Anti-Robbery Squad operatives against torture and extra-judicial killings, saying “no policeman in the world had the right or authority to kill crime suspects” (The Punch, 2016, September 23).
He admonished the SARS personnel to always respect the right of every Nigerian, noting that this was the way they could change the negative public perception about them. Protests against police brutality previously have arisen in Nigeria, as advocates and researchers have documented extensive evidence of human rights abuses by SARS officers and other NPF personnel. In a 2016 report, Amnesty International asserted that SARS officers routinely committed torture and other abuses against detainees—many of whom were arrested arbitrarily, detained incommunicado, and forced to “confess” or pay bribes to secure release (Aborisade & Fayemi, 2015).
With the way that the world has been made a worldwide town where data about nations, their exercises and that of their authorities are effortlessly gotten to anyplace on the planet on the web through the use of technology, made individuals to handily reprimand actions and activities of the public authority when they are not satisfied with it. Information is presently at the tip of individuals’ finger which has caused the public not to be escaped with the happenings around them.The advent of the internet in the 1990s led to major developments in the world of communication. Today the Internet has taken a firm place in people’s lives. It is difficult to imagine a young man who at least once a day did not check for updates in social networks and did not leaf through the news lines. The modern reality requires us to stay in touch and keep abreast of the recent happenings around the globe. Social Media are interactive computer-mediated technologies that facilitate the creation or sharing of information, ideas, career interests, and other forms of expression via virtual communities and networks.
There is no doubt the emergence of the internet has immensely contributed to the introduction of social networking sites (SNSS). The coming into being of these sites revolutionized the world of communication and today we celebrate its improvement ranging from education to entertainment. Recent study have shown The evolution of the internet has led to its usage as the best of communication whereby two-third (2/3) of the internet world‘s population visit social networking sites (SNSs) thus serving as communication and connection tools. These networking sites are referred to as social media (Boyd and Ellison, 2007).
Social networking has become a common international trend which has spread its reach to almost every corner of the world. The use of Social media sites has exploded and evolved into an online platform where people create content, share it, bookmark it and network a prodigious rate.Online technologies have continued to erase the line between the traditional media and their audience. This significant success has been facilitated by the two-way communication system which social media provides than the one-way broadcast method of the traditional media. Social media have given masses a voice which the traditional media though committed to achieve has not yet totally achieved. With the continuous improvements in information and communication technologies and increasing possibilities for ubiquitous internet connectivity, more freedom is anticipated for using social media whenever and wherever one wants.
Relating to freedom, and as indicated by Nielsen (2012), social media (appearing in the form of MySpace, LinkedIn, Facebook, Mebo, Twitter and others) continue to alter the way in which humans access, generate, share and use information (Cabral, 2011). With the possibility for more freedom (i.e. of connectivity and access) regarding networking online anywhere and at any time, it is not difficult to note that social media use will remain a regular aspect of humans everyday life since it facilitate speedy information dissemination around the world.
The #EndSARS movement began in 2017, as Nigerians shared experiences of police brutality via social media and demonstrated in several cities to call for SARS’s dissolution. In response to those protests, the government pledged an “immediate reorganization” of SARS and an investigation into allegations against the unit. Reported abuses nevertheless persisted; in June 2020, Amnesty International concluded that SARS officers continued to commit extensive human rights violations and that impunity remained pervasive. The 2020 #EndSARS protests have been noteworthy for their size, duration, and reach.
Demonstrations began in early October and intensified as celebrities all over the world expressed support for the protesters and as a government crackdown on marchers in mid-October provoked further demonstrations. Many activists deemed the disbanding of SARS on October 11 as inadequate, comparing it to past reforms that broadly failed to curb SARS misconduct, some also have called for broader governance improvements. As unrest has continued, Governors in several states have imposed curfews or banned protests. On October 20, army and police reportedly used live fire to disperse demonstrators in the Lekki and Alausa areas of Lagos, Nigeria’s commercial capital, killing several and injuring hundreds. Various world leaders criticized the crackdown; on October 22, Secretary of State Michael Pompeo condemned “the use of excessive force by military forces who fired on unarmed demonstrators in Lagos” calling for Nigerian security services to “show maximum restraint and respect fundamental rights and for demonstrators to remain peaceful (Tomas F. Husted, 2020).
International bodies and personalities tend to hear of this brutality in real time, because the awareness was created through social media which might have taken longer time for them to get to know of the occurrence if the awareness is to be created through traditional news media, as most of these international bodies might not watch our local news media.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
One good thing about social media is that information that are not publicized or shared for public awareness are made easy to the people via social media platforms. The use of social media has made the world a global village where people can easily have access to things that happen in different part of the world without them being there present. Nigeria as a country experienced an uproar in the year 2020 as a result of the dissatisfaction the people had with the operatives of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) which was an arm of the Nigerian Police Force.
Nigerians shared their experiences and video evidence of how members of SARS engaged in kidnapping, murder, theft, rape, torture, unlawful arrests, humiliation, unlawful detention, extrajudicial killings, and extortion in Nigeria all over the internet and social media. The people took to the internet and the street to demonstrate their grievance against the SARS brutality in the country with the name #EndSARS. October 20 2020 was marked with bloodshed which can be described as extra-judicial killings. The Nigeria Army had opened fire on a group of peaceful EndSARS protesters at Lekki toll gate, Lagos state. The protesters with the twitter hash-tag #EndSars had metamorphosed from a cyber outcry to the physical gathering following the Nigeria Police brutality on young people. The Nigeria Police unit called Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) had been accused of the excessive use of force in discharging their duties. They have earned an ill-reputation as a unit in the Nigeria Police force that have hunted the youths of Nigeria and exude so much commitment to extortion, abuse, assault and eventual killings of Nigeria youths. SARS unit had failed in its duty of ensuring a society free of kidnapping, armed robbery and other heinous armed related crimes. The SARS unit failed in the protection of life and property. They consequently abused their office severally over the years, thereby giving room for the protest by the Nigeria youths to end the SARS unit.
Nigeria youths took to the streets (starting from Lagos state which later spread to other states in Nigeria) to protest against police brutality and killings. The protest had lasted for days which led the federal government to accept the demands of the protesters to scrap the unit. However, the protesters continued the demonstration when the federal government represented by the Inspector general of police ordered the doing-away of the SARS unit and the quick initiation of the Special Weapons and Tactical Squad (SWAT). This initiative did not sit well with the Nigeria youths who perceive the new unit as a new decoration on an old devil. This situation further triggered the protest as the demonstrators took the social movement to public places including the Lagos state Toll gate.
At the night of 20 October, 2020 at exactly 6:50 pm the Nigeria Army fired live bullets at the protesters resulting to deaths of the armless protesters. According to theconversation.com (2020) at least 12 people were killed by the Nigeria Army as a result of direct use of firearms. The governor of Lagos state, Babajide Sanwo-Olu denied any death of protesters, however after one week, he admitted that two people were killed (Businessday, 2020). According to peoplesgazette.com (2020) the Nigeria police was called upon to take possession and morgue registration of nine dead bodies by the Nigeria Army. The Nigeria police believed that the bodies were from the Lekki Massacre.
While the Nigeria Army has continued to deny its action, eye witness to the event, insisted that the Nigeria Army opened fire on the harmless protesters. The focus of this study is to examine the effect of social media in the campaign against police brutality making reference to the ENDSARS protest.
1.3 Objective of the Study
The main objective of this study is to assess the influence of social media in the mobilization of youths for the endsars protest in 2020 (a case study of twitter). Specifically, the study seeks to:
- Find out the role social media played in stimulating the ENDSARS protest in Lagos State.
- Ascertain the various social media platforms used to facilitate the EndSARS campaign.
- Discuss the social media strategies adopted by the protesters during ENDSARS protest.
- Determine the efficacy of the EndSARS protest on police brutality.
1.4 Research Questions
The research questions that guide this study are as follows:
- What role did social media play in stimulating the ENDSARS protest in Lagos State?
- What are the various social media platforms employed in facilitating the EndSARS campaign?
- What social media strategies were adopted by protesters during ENDSARS protest?
- How effective was the ENDSARS protest against police brutality in Lagos state?
1.5 Significance of the Study
This study on the effect of social media in the campaign against police brutality will help government and policy makers adjust laws and policies necessary to create an environment that will promote and protect the rights of the citizens, rule of law, protection of lives and properties as stated as the significant duty of the security personnel and restrict the abuse of power of security personnel in the country.
Also, this study will be of significant to the public target to be enlightened on the role social media plays in propagating the happenings around the globe thereby making the world a global village.
This study will further add to existing literature on social media and protest and as well serve as a reference material to students, scholars and researchers who may want to carry out further research on this topic or related field in the future.
1.6 Scope of the Study
This study is focused on the contemporary relevance of social media in stirring up demonstration against police brutality. In this study, some excesses of the Nigeria police will be highlighted, and also the study will focus on exploring how social media contributed in stimulating the ENDSARS protest.
This study will also accommodate data relating to the Lekki Toll Gate massacre of the EndSARS protesters. The findings of this study will be limited to Lagos state Nigeria. A survey method will be employed in this study enrolling residents of Lekki as participants.
1.7 Limitation of the Study
Insufficient fund tends to impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature or information and in the process of data collection (internet, questionnaire and interview).
The researcher will simultaneously engage in this study with other academic work. This consequently will cut down on the time devoted for the research work
1.8 Operational Definition of Terms
Social media are forms of electronic communication which facilitate interactive social networking base on certain interests. Social media include web and mobile technology. It is a group of internet-based applications that builds on the ideological and technological foundations of Web 2.0 and allow the creation and exchange of user-generated content.
Internet can be defined as an interconnected computer networks that use the standard internet protocol suite to serve billions of users worldwide. It consists of millions of private, public, academic, business and government networks that range from local to global scope that are linked by a broad array of electronic, wireless and optical networking technologies.
Media are all those media technologies that are intended to reach a large audience by mass communication. They are messages communicated through a mass medium to a number of people. According to “Wikipedia” Media are the communication outlets or tools used to store and deliver information or data. The term refers to components of the mass media communications industry, such as print media, publishing, the news media, photography, cinema, broadcasting, and advertising.
The Special Anti-Robbery Squad was a Nigerian Police Force unit created to deal with crimes associated with robbery, motor vehicle theft, kidnapping, cattle rustling, and firearms.
An organized course of action to express disapproval of or objection to something in order to achieve a goal.
1.9 Organizations of the Study
The chapter one consist of the introductory part of the study which includes the study background, the statement of the research problem, the study objective and scope of the study.
The second chapter is a critical review of other literatures relevant to the study and its objectives including the theoretical framework for the study. While the third chapter is methods of data collection, sampling and data analysis used in conducting the study. The fourth chapter centres around the research findings including an analysis of how it relates to previous findings. The fifth chapter consists of the summary of findings, conclusion and recommendations base on the study objectives.
Summary of Findings, Conclusion and Recommendations
5.1 Summary of Findings
In this study, our focus was to examine the Influence Of Social Media In The Mobilization Of Youths For The Endsars Protest In 2020 (a Case Study Of Twitter). The study specifically was aimed at finding out the role social media played in stimulating the ENDSARS protest in Lagos State; ascertain the various social media platforms used to facilitate the EndSARS campaign; discuss the social media strategies adopted by the protesters during ENDSARS protest; and determine the efficacy of the EndSARS protest on police brutality.
The study adopted the survey research designand randomly enrolled participants using the convenience sampling technique to choose the sample size in the study. A total of 259 responses were validated from the enrolled participants where all respondent are residents of Lekki, Lagos State. Self-constructed and validated questionnaire was used for data collection. The collected and validated questionnaires were analyzed using frequency tables and percentage.
Having critically examined the research questions, and the research findings, the following conclusion was made based on the information gathered:
- Lekki residents are on social media platform.
- Lekki residents are aware of the ENDSARS Protest.
- Social media played a significant role in stimulating the ENDSARS Protest in Lagos State.
- The role social media played in stimulating the ENDSARS protest in Lagos State include: political education, sensitization and information dissemination and youth mobilization.
- The various social media platforms employed in facilitating the EndSARS campaign in Lagos State were Twitter for interactive content and user generated content, Instagram for video and image content, and Facebook for live visual content.
- The various social media strategies adopted by the ENDSARS protesters during the ENDSARS protest, includes the no leadership strategy, the hashtag# strategy, the funding strategy and the EbdSARS Logo initiative and allegiance strategy.
- ENDSARS protest against police brutality in Lagos State were effective in the way that the protest brought about police reformation, it also brought about dissolution of SARS, and also brought about the prosecution of identified officers.
Based on the responses obtained, the researcher proffers the following recommendations:
- The federal government of Nigeria should look into the reasons behind the protest that caused chaos and uproar in all the 36 states in Nigeria and enact laws and structures that bring to an end the brutality of SARS in Nigeria.
- The government of Nigeria should endeavor to orientate the SWAT properly so that they will not be like pouring new wine in an old wine skin. That is the SWAT being another version of SARS.
- The federal government of Nigeria should carry out a thorough check on all members of the SWAT force and their academic qualifications to ascertain their eligibility for the work.
- The Federal government of Nigeria should always endeavor to protect the human rights of the citizens taking to note that the Lekki shooting was a gross abuse on the rights of civilian citizens of the country.
Influence Of Social Media In The Mobilization Of Youths For The EndSARS Protest In 2020 (A Case Study Of Twitter)
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