Sunday, September 25, 2022

#EndSARS: Feminist Coalition’s website knocked offline in Nigeria

No one has claimed responsibility for the apparent blockage of the major #EndSARS campaign website.

• November 26, 2020
#EndSARS protest used to illustrate the story
#EndSARS protest used to illustrate the story

The website of Feminist Coalition, a group of women’s rights activists who coordinated online fundraisers for the historic #EndSARS movement, has been rendered inaccessible from Nigeria.

Several tries to gain access to the site from Lagos and Abuja were futile as of 8:59 p.m. Thursday evening. The site appeared to have been blocked across all local network providers, fueling speculations of a government sponsored cyber attack.

The online portal could, however, be accessed using a virtual private network (VPN), which conceals the internet protocol (IP) address of users and makes them untraceable. The site could also be accessed outside Nigeria, with people in Europe, Asia and North America all telling Peoples Gazette that they were accessing the site without restrictions. 

When the Gazette logged into the website using VPN, it showed no signs of server downtime, raising concerns of ramped up efforts to stifle the group’s activities in Nigeria.

Payment processing platform Flutterwave had deactivated the coalition’s fund-raiser account early October, in the wake of the #EndSARS campaign, on the directive of the Central Bank of Nigeria, sources told the Gazette.

The Gazette exposed how Nigerian authorities had initiated a watchlist of Nigerians who took prominent roles in the #EndSARS campaign against decades of police brutality.

On November 1, a key strategist for #EndSARS and legal counsel to the Feminist Coalition, Modupe Chizoba Odele, was prevented from travelling out of Nigeria. 

Ms. Odele’s passport was confiscated at the Murtala Muhammad International Airport while traveling to the Maldives for her birthday on November 2. 

The coalition has yet to issue a statement on the suspected attack on its website.

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