Sunday, August 1, 2021

#EndSARS surpasses #BlackLivesMatter, packs nearly 30 million tweets in two days

By comparison, American crusade received only 3.7 million tweets per day, still Twitter has yet to give Nigerian movement an emoji.

• October 11, 2020
#EndSARS protest
#EndSARS protest photo used to illustrate the story

The #EndSARS campaign that began in Nigeria and is now raging across the world has gained nearly 30 million over the past 48 hours, a social media research firm found.

Afriques Connectées said on Sunday night that more than 28 million tweets were dumped into the #EndSARS hashtag on the micro-blogging platform in the last 48 hours.

The report showed that the Nigerian movement received far more tweets than the #BlackLivesMatter crusade that followed the death of George Floyd in the United States. 

The #BlackLivesMatter hashtag received only 3.7 million tweets per day at its peak in early June following Mr. Floyd’s death in late May, Pew Research found.

Whereas Twitter quickly gave #BlackLivesMatter an emoji, Nigerians are yet to see a similar support from the platform, despite clearly receiving more support worldwide with #EndSARS trending at number one throughout the weekend. 

The failure to compliment the #EndSARS campaign with an emoji has compelled Nigerians to dump the #EndSARS because Twitter’s algorithms do not permit a hashtag to remain at the top for more than 48 hours. Therefore, Nigerians have now adopted #SARSMUSTEND to continue their demand for a better policing system.

A spokesperson for Twitter did not immediately return a request seeking comments from Peoples Gazette.

The #EndSARS began as a citizens-led movement in 2017 and gradually built up amongst millions of Nigerian youth after authorities failed to take immediate action to address it.

The commencement of the movement saw thousands of citizens take to social media to narrate their horrifying experience with the police special anti-robbery squad, SARS.

SARS, established as a secret police unit in the early 90s to tackle multiple layers of armed robbery in Lagos, has over the decades transformed into a conventional police department, wearing fatigues to mount roadblocks, extort, intimidate, maim or even kill.

Last weekend, the campaign to #EndSARS received nationwide attention after a video emerged of how officers fled the scene of a murder in Ugheli, a transit route in the oil-reach Delta region. 

Following a week-long campaign in the form of social media posts and street protests, President Muhammadu Buhari announced on Friday that he would look into addressing all abuses linked to the brutal squad. 

But Nigerians refused the president’s promises as too vague and insufficient, proceeding with the campaign. Between Friday and Saturday, hundreds of celebrities from across the world had identified with the protesters on social media. 

The campaign continued until Sunday afternoon, but only briefly subsided when Inspector-General Muhammadu Adamu announced the scrapping of the embattled unit, promising additional reforms across the nation’s police structure.

Nigerians are still on the streets demanding absolute reform of the police, as well as official government apology and justice for the victims of decades of brutality.

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