The Next Wave: When tweeting becomes a crime


TC Insights

Hashtags for the unvoiced

On the first day of the twelve months 2012, Nigerians awoke to the news that gasoline subsidy had been eradicated. The legit mark of petrol had long previous up by 116%. The following day, Twitter users voiced their displeasures the utilization of the #OccupyNigeria hashtag as a rallying point.

This online advocacy spilled onto the streets and a circulate used to be born.

On-line advocacy by the utilization of Twitter has change into a the truth is powerful instrument for retaining the authorities guilty in Nigeria. They’ve on the whole helped hang the authorities’s consideration in a democratic nation where dissent and criticism are viewed as disloyal and met with force.

Mobolaji Adebayo/TC Insights

Within the case of #OccupyNigeria, the mixed efforts of the protesters – offline and online – disrupted economic actions across the nation. Within the pause, the authorities reduced gasoline prices by 30%.

On April 14th, 2014, one other tragedy occurred and a Twitter hashtag proved all over yet again important for getting the authorities to act. Over 200 schoolgirls possess been kidnapped from a faculty in Chibok, in northeast Nigeria. With the authorities taking too lengthy to respond, #BringBackOurGirls, arguably the most neatly-liked pattern of all time on Twitter in Nigeria, used to be born.

Shortly after, the gain protests went offline around the sector. World leaders, celebrities and international organisations joined the campaign. 107 of the lacking ladies possess been stumbled on.

Around that point, the most famous opposition party APC had begun harnessing the skill of social media, specifically Twitter to plan enhance for its campaign. It proved instrumental of their success at the odd elections.

A tweet by Nigeria President Muhammadu Buhari on his first day in place of work

Two years later with the recent authorities sworn in, conditions of brutality, extortion, and illegal arrest of residents by officers of the Special Anti Theft Squad (SARS) of the Nigerian Police Force elevated.

Tweets calling for a ban of the unit gave birth to #EndSARS. The authorities signed a assortment of bills to full the brutality following offline protests.

But the #EndSARS hashtag resurge in October 2020. Teens jumped on the pattern and it played a key role in crowdfunding, venue coordination, and media protection. Again, a Nigerian hashtag changed into a predominant world tale.

While rumours of the authorities shutting down the gain at the 2nd by no intention occurred, that is now a truth, no longer lower than in part. 

On the different hand, this has no longer deterred teenagers from worrying better governance and accountability. Armed with VPNs, teenagers possess been making their voices heard. The recent hashtag? #KeepItOn. 

Written by Mobolaji Adebayo