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Nigeria may shut down internet as #EndSARS protests continue

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With Nigerians not backing down on protests for the reform of the police force and total disbandment of the Special Anti- Robbery Squad(SARS), there are speculations that the government might shut down the internet.

Six days ago, a video of a fatal police shooting of a Nigerian man, sparked outrage and reignited a public call for the total dissolution of the controversial police unit in the country.

The video caused large numbers of Nigerians including celebrities, politicians, and activists calling for justice using hashtags such as #WarOnSars, #EndSars, and #SarsAlert #SARSMUSTEND.

With celebrities adding their voice to the #EndSARS campaign, it jumped to the top of global trend on Twitter and drew international support from celebrities and soccer stars like Kanye West, Trey Songs, Mesut Ozil and Marcus Rashford.

Nigeria’s superstars, Wizkid and Falz who are also part of this generation of protesters, have been physically present in London and Abuja protests.

The protests against the police have largely been organized on social media, fuelled by citizens sharing their experiences of police abuses and videos of brutal incidents, including the beating of civilians and the firing of live ammunition at protesters.

The campaign moved from social media to the streets of Nigeria, with protesters demanding an end to the rogue police unit and a wholesome police reform.

However, the protesters are not relenting despite the dissolution of the notorious police squad but have continued to protest noting the government’s ineffectual promises of police reforms and investigations in the past.

The campaigners have also been able to organise funds to cater to their welfares during protest using digital payment platforms.

But there are now speculations that the Nigerian government may to shut the protesters up by shutting down the internet since surreptitious move to divide the protesters have failed.

Active protesters on and off social media have said unknown numbers have been calling to threaten them to back off.

Moreover, Feminist Coalition, a pro-#EndSARS women group, said its bank account has been deactivated.

“For demanding an end to police brutality we are now under attack,” the group said on Twitter on Tuesday.

Nigerians are however speculating that the government in order to mute the campaign may clampdown on social media like its counterparts in other African countries have done in the past.

For instance, Chad shut down the internet in early 2018 despite the international media campaigns against the deliberate clamp down on free speech in the landlocked African country.

“Chad is among the worst states in the world regarding respect of digital rights,” Internet Without Borders said in December 2018.

But Chad is not the only African country where the government’s censorship of digital rights was used to stifle freedom of speech.

Between 2016 and 2018, the authorities in South Sudan, Cameroon, Ethiopia, and Somalia also shut down the internet in their respective countries.

While Zimbabwe, Sudan, and the Democratic Republic of Congo have forced internet shutdown in 2019, Tanzania, Uganda, and a host of North African countries have stringent subsisting rules for the use of social media and digital publishing.

Nigeria almost moved in that direction in 2019 as law that sought to punish individuals behind certain social media posts which was proposed to the Nigerian Senate in 2017 passed first reading.

Massive media backlash prevented lawmakers from passing the bill into law.

Campaigners also argued that the #EndSARS was missing on trend table on Twitter despite thousands of people tweeting the hashtag.

Some of them said the government may have tampered with the hashtag. That belief led to the birth of #SARSMustEnd.

Paradigm Initiatives media and program manager Adegoke Adeboye said it is not “impossible” for the Nigerian Government to shut down the internet but hoped it will not get to that point.

“The government’s response to the protest has been double-faced, “ Adegoke said.

“While saying all the nice things openly, it is secretly attacking private businesses that has lent their platforms to support the protest.”

He said the clampdown on Flutterwave might be the first step to mute the active participation of citizens in the protest.

“We all know the role that the Internet is playing in the protest and we can already imagine that someone has proposed this to the government,” Adegoke said.

Adegoke further stated that it is better Nigerians are prepared than to be caught unawares.

“In April last year, PIN developed some guidelines to help citizens stay online should the government shut down the internet.”

“The guides are still relevant and we are also working with some of our partners to specifically help Nigerians stay online should the government shut down the internet. The digital rights community are therefore envisaging this already.”

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Man commits suicide due to inability to cope with burdens

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Man ends it all in Kano over ‘family troubles .

One Ibrahim Abubakar, retailer along Zoo Road in Kano city, ended it all on Thursday night.

His body was found swinging from a rope in his shop.

His child, Abdussalam Ibrahim, told newsmen that his dad was combating with mental illness which further declined by homegrown duties he was unable to deal with, including the wedding of his little girl that is coming up soon.

He said: “Our father was battling with psychological trauma and he is also poverty-stricken. More so, my sister is due to be given out in marriage soon. We performed the evening prayer with him after which he went back to the shop and hung himself. He gave up the ghost despite attempts to save him when he was discovered.”

In his reaction, the Police Public Relations Officer, DSP Abdullahi Haruna Kiyawa, expressed that examination concerning the case is on to figure out what really occurred. In the interim, the essential report shows that the man was discovered hanging in his shop at night.

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Wike advises buhari to fulfill his promise to nigerians

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Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, has encouraged the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), to demonstrate to Nigerians that he is prepared to fulfill the masses needs.

The lead representative said the President will set the nation ‘ablaze’ by not actualizing a portion of the solicitations voiced out by pioneers during the ongoing conversations with the official designation drove by the Chief of Staff to the President, Ibrahim Gambari.

The PUNCH had revealed that Gambari drove lawmakers and government officials to gatherings with heads of the six international zones as a method of tending to concerns brought up in the outcome of the #EndSARS protests.

Gambari and the official appointment had met with lead representatives and heads of the South-South international zone in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital, on Tuesday. At the gathering, the South-South pioneers including the Rivers State governor requested the rebuilding of the nation in accordance with the guideline of genuine federalism, saying it will ensure harmony, security and soundness in the nation.

Giving a report on the gathering on Thursday morning, Wike said the President actually has the opportunity to execute the desire of individuals and engraving an inheritance for himself.

The governor talked today on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily program.

He said, “I am not a pessimist. I don’t believe that because you didn’t do what you agreed to do yesterday, therefore, you will not do what you agree to do today.

Even if he (Buhari) has not done what he told Nigerians he would do, he can say, look, I promised Nigerians yesterday, I didn’t do that and that is affecting my integrity and so, for people who know me, I will implement what I have said.

“People have raised the issue that they don’t think anything will come out of the dialogues. I don’t agree with them. I believe that if the President does not do it, given the opportunity he has now, he will be putting Nigeria on fire.” Continuing, Wike said political will to implement what the people want is key in governance.

According to him, the President has to show leadership by listening to Nigerians and by adhering to their wishes and proposals. “He may not necessarily implement everything the people may want but let the people see the concrete evidence that under President Buhari, he has been able to implement one, two, three, four demands by the people.

“If he (Buhari) doesn’t take this opportunity now to implement some of these requests, I don’t think it will be very good for Nigerians and for his legacy,” the governor added.

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Health

Best WASSCE candidate of 2019 dies of cancer.

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Enugu state student who passed 2019 WASSCE with 7As dies of malignancy.

Chisom Chukwuneke, an understudy who arose the best 2019 candidate of the West African Senior Secondary Certificate Examination, WASSCE, in her school, has died subsequent to fighting leukemia.

Douglas Ifeanyi Uzochukwu, Principal of Graceland College in Enugu where she moved on from a year ago, affirmed the sad news to TheCable Lifestyle yesterday.

Uzochukwu said chisom, 17, kicked the bucket after a delayed treatment in South Africa.

“I’m not her father. I can’t speak much on that but she passed on from leukemia after prolonged treatment in South Africa,” he added.

In a statement written via the school’s Facebook page, he wrote: “Forever in our hearts! Only a moment you stayed, but what an imprint you left in our Hall of Fame. A truly outstanding student! Rest In Peace Chisom!”

Felix Chukwuneke, a Nigerian professor identified as the father of the deceased, also took to Facebook to explain how Chisom’s sickness started as pain in her leg.

He said this had prompted him to fly her to South Africa for medical care. “ It was just like a dream but the realities are crystal now. Just a pain on the leg that snowballed to a devastating episode, the battle started earnestly.

I hear you call, ‘daddy my leg is paining me’. I watch as you lie abed with pain,” he said in a long tribute to the deceased.

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