Over the past few weeks, the Nigerian government has employed a number of tactics to clamp down on young Nigerians who were involved in the End SARS protests that swept through the country last month. From the news that attorney, Moe Odele’s passport was seized pending investigation by the DSS, to the unlawful imprisonment of the Abuja Six and Eromosele in Lagos, it has now become increasingly clear that the government viewed the protests as an affront to their long-standing rule and are taking steps to ensure that no uproar of similar magnitude occurs again.
Following the protests, the Nigerian government has been clamping down on the spread of false information and calling for reconsideration of the Social Media Bill in a bid to put more online censorship in place and control the narrative about affairs taking place in the country. Though steps are yet to be taken to ensure that this bill gets passed into law, it seems as though the government’s bid to enforce erasure and censorship was not just empty threats as news reached yesterday that the Feminist Coalition website is currently inaccessible to view when using local mobile networks in Nigeria.
The FemCo website is currently inaccessible in Nigeria except through a VPN.
All the writings on the wall are clear so it is important that everyone is aware of the tactics.
— Moe (@Mochievous) November 26, 2020
It seems bizarre that the government would restrict viewing and traffic on the Feminist Coalition website, when the members of the female-led group expressly stated that they would be bowing out of funding and assisting with the logistics for the End SARS protests over a month ago, following the brutal killings that took place in Lagos on October 20th. Just as they allegedly employed the CBN to hinder seamless transactions during the protests, the Nigerian government continues to show that they would rather make more effort to trump the demands of its citizens, than make the change we are merely asking for.
Up until yesterday, the FemCo website only contained the detailed breakdown of the allocation of pooled funds from donations and crowdfunding with the Coalition’s final statement, expressing their desire to remain committed to the group’s core mandate: championing the advancement of the Nigerian woman. Now, however, when you visit the website, the webpage does not load unless through a VPN. Damilola Odufuwa, one of the founding members of the Coalition shared that:
“It appears many people in Nigeria using various network providers cannot access our website without a VPN. Upon discovery, many of the coalition founding members tweeted about it and a lot of people confirmed. Someone actually tweeted it on November 12 but we missed it. It’s ridiculous that the website of a women’s rights organisation (with harmless details about who we are and a summary of our work so far) has been blocked. Why is a website with numbers and tables being blocked? Why are we being censored?”
This story is developing.
Featured image credits/FeministCoalition
.@tamimak_ is just trying to make it to the end of the year