When people say to never underestimate the power of social media, they aren’t lying.
About two weeks ago, Nigerian youths came together to protest against police brutality, and for the disbandment of the rogue police unit, SARS. Over the course of one week, through social media, funds were raised and #EndSars gained massive attention with more than a million tweets, causing it to be the number one trending topic worldwide.
If we didn’t have social media, a lot of things wouldn’t have been possible.
I’m proud of Nigerian millennials. For a generation that’s had to struggle for anything good in this country, this is perhaps the boldest statement we’ve ever made about rejecting the status quo.
I hope everyone is listening. #EndSARS
— Tech Bro (@OdunEweniyi) October 15, 2020
If we didn’t have social media, the world will never know what’s really going on in Nigeria. #EndSars will never have been trending on platforms such as Twitter, and traditional media would have twisted the stories and the agenda behind the movement. Through social media, young Nigerians have been able to correct misinformation spread by media channels and government institutions, while also documenting events through shared videos and pictures.
Guys, we have one job today. Circulate the clip of sanwo saying nobody died alongside the pictures/videos of people getting killed last night. #EndSARS Social media is all we have at this point – it’s our most powerful tool!!!
— tam (@tb2951) October 21, 2020
If we didn’t have social media, the world will never know what really happened at the Lekki toll just a few days after Nigeria celebrated her independence.
On the 20th of October 2020, the governor of Lagos state Babajide Sanwo-Olu, declared a 24 hour curfew across Lagos. Despite this, peaceful protesters at the Lekki toll agreed to remain there and stand their ground peacefully. Videos and images shared on social media showed this was exactly what the protesters did; they remained peaceful, waving their flags while singing the Nigerian national anthem.
Just when it was starting to get dark, protesters at the Lekki toll alerted the public through Twitter and other platforms, that the Nigerian military were shooting directly at them.
Some protesters even went live on Instagram, visibly showing the pain they were experiencing, and just because they were peacefully protesting against police brutality. Lights and cameras were disabled by people who are yet to be identified.
Protesters lost their lives because they were fighting for basic human rights and we will never forget.
Due to the power of social media, Nigerians were able to witness the truth of the tragedy that occurred at the Lekki toll gate on 20.10.20.
— FK. (@fkabudu) October 18, 2020
If we didn’t have social media, protesters would have had a difficult time receiving information. These past few weeks have proven just how powerful the new generation of Nigerian youths are. Despite the ongoing situation, they came together to make sure protests were as comfortable as possible, while continuing to be there for one and other.
Applications like Twitter helped protesters on the streets and online pass on and receive information easily; if someone urgently needed an ambulance amongst other things, it was quickly communicated and provided.
Learning everyday the reason why new media is so important, if this happened 15-20 years ago there would be no evidence.
— Delz (@wolfofnewstreet) October 21, 2020
If we didn’t have social media, Nigerians would unknowingly be blind to a number of things due to the false and untruthful statements made by the government and traditional media channels.
Not even 24 hours after the military attacked peaceful protesters at the Lekki toll, countless shootings and killings were made by policemen in areas such as Lekki, Yaba and other states in the country.
Because of social media, through videos and images people are continually sharing, the world is aware and watching.