This article is constantly updated as new apps and platforms are built to support #EndSARS protests, the fight against police brutality.
The protest against police brutality in Nigeria, tagged #EndSARS, has raged on full steam since October 7, 2020.
Although the fight against police brutality didn't start this year, it's been ongoing for the past four years. And the $2 billion Nigerian tech industry has been at the forefront of the fight against police harassment and extortion.
I've spoken to a number of techies to hear their police brutality stories. Many of them have been harassed or seen their friends harassed are joining other Nigerian youths to put an end to police brutality. Whether they're live on protest grounds, tweeting to keep the hashtags relevant, donating money, or coding. Every Nigerian youth is lending their voice to the fight against police brutality.
In this article, I look at five tools that have been developed to help with the #EndSARS protest.
After the first few days of protests were met with silence from the government, Carlos "Kadet" Enebeli decided to amplify people's voice. Kadet said he was inspired by a similar application he'd seen from the fight against the social media bill.
I just asked for extra hands, and they turned up for the culture - Kadet.
After building the basic function of the app, Kadet reached out to his Twitter followers to help with email templates and to update the list of politicians. He also received help from another developer who helped him to create a feature to monitor traffic on Google Analytics.
Endsarz.com gives users the ability to tweet at prominent Nigerians and elected officials with just one click. Every click generates a different account you can tweet at with a pre-written tweet. The platform also gives users access to a database of emails and phone numbers of Nigerian politicians. With one click, you can send automated emails, text messages, and make calls.
Kadet says he hopes the site can remain as a protest tool for the common good. Endsarz is designed to be an open source project, and as such, it is easily adaptable.
2. Stay Safe (iOS app)
About a week before the protests started, David Asiegbunam was assaulted by the police. His phone was seized and he was falsely accused of "murder". Luckily, he was exonerated. But David resolved in his mind to build something to help other young people that find themselves in such precarious situations.
David's resolution led to the development of Stay Safe, an iPhone shortcut that enable users to send preset messages to their friends and family members. Installing the Stay Safe app takes a bit of work, but it's worth it. After installing, you can add the contacts of your friends and family, and create preset messages that would be delivered to them both on iMessage and WhatsApp. You can also add your friends' Twitter handles so your message can be broadcast even further.
Step 2— Get Me Lit (@conclavedave) October 11, 2020
Go to settings > Shortcuts
Allow untrusted Shortcuts
There are two ways to activate the preset messages: by tapping on the shortcut or sending a "keep safe" voice command to Siri. The app also records audio from your phone and send it to your contacts once you activate it.
While I was not able to speak with the brains behind the EndSARS website, a whois search revealed that it was registered on October 4, 10 days ago. The website acts as a self-publisher for people looking to share their experience at the hands of the Nigerian police.
Users can document and self-publish their stories as well as pictures and videos from either experiences with the police or their time at the protests.
The website is, perhaps, the most extensive documentation of stories of police brutality stories with over 400 stories already uploaded. However, it is not clear whether the stories are fact-checked or verified.
Visitors on the website are also encouraged to share sightings of the notorious Special Anti-Robbery Squad.
4. POBIN Project
Similar to Endsars.com, the POBIN project looks to draw attention to the instances of human rights abuses by the Nigerian police. The name itself "POBIN" is an acronym for Police Brutality in Nigeria.
Curated by Kemi Falodun, a Nigerian journalist working with Aljazeera, it takes a more meticulous approach to storytelling. The website was launched in July 2020 and acts as a repository for stories of those who have been victims of police brutality.
One of the team members on the POBIN project, Ayoola Salako, was involved in an incident with a police officer of the notorious Akwuzu SARS in Anambra. He said that experience could have ended his life.
Although the stories on the website are much fewer than those on Endsars.com, they go further back, showing that the history of police brutality in Nigeria predates the formation of SARS.
As soon as the protest started, several developers moved to create bots to amplify the message. I reached out to one of the people behind some of the bots, and he agreed to speak with me under the condition of anonymity.
On Monday, October 5, he reached out to a couple of his friends to help build bots for the cause. They had previously done similar work during the "Know Your Senator" campaign against the social media bill last November. This time, however, they decided to make the bots more of a nuisance.
They posted a bounty to get people to develop bots that could reply to tweets with the hashtag for the day, send emails and messages, and make calls to designated numbers. The @endsarsz bot, for instance, replies with the trending hashtag whenever mentioned under the president's tweets.
Initially, it started as an "₦5,000 to anyone building bots". But when people began building, many requested for SMS units. The bounty fund started then increased to ₦30,000, and later to over ₦120,000 after more people made donations.
The bots are open source and can be deployed by anyone for future use. As expected, some of the bots were blocked by Twitter. But overall, they've been a success. As a result of the initiative, they were able to launch six bots, but altogether, about ten bots built over the last two weeks.
Other digital platforms built for #EndSARS protest
In addition to these five tech tools built by developers, there are other digital platforms documenting nationwide protest against police brutality.
1. The Nigerian Observer
The Nigerian Observer is a publication on Substack with eclectic collection of writers. It was started by Mudia Imasuen.
Gist is simply an audio version of endsars.com. Gist is "a social voice app designed so you can reach the world with interesting opinions and stories", according to its website.
3. Soro Soke!
Similar to The Nigerian Observer, Soro Soke (which means "Speak Up" in Yoruba language), was created by Nigerian Feminists to archive and catalogue events of several movements.
"As Archivists and Activists, it is our duty to preserve and protect the protesters, ensuring narratives are not created and twisted. Nigerians will continue to speak up and History will be documented", Soro Soke says on its website.
4. Online Radio
Three online radios have been launched to sustain the #EndSARS protest and accurately report on happenings. The stations are Soro Soke Radio, EndSARS Radio and Radio Isiaq.
Welcome to Soro Soke Radio, [SS Radio if ya lazy].— Soro Soke Radio (@SoroSokeRadio) October 15, 2020
We’re here to sustain Nigeria’s greatest youth revolution by empowering the people with live and accurate protest updates while lifting their spirits with the best local and international protest/conscious music. Link in bio pic.twitter.com/Cn2EHN1eLP
ENDSARS launches online Radio— Glazed Donut 🍩 (@feyikewa) October 18, 2020
Soro Soke Radio is live...
Listen via https://t.co/sKFvvGBfDR
5. NG Voices
NG Voices allows people to select a language and get voice notes, broadcast messages and posters in that language. It enables people to spread awareness about #EndSARS movement in their native language.
Following the discontinuation street protests, a group of volunteers have built iVOTE — a platform that allows people to vote for their demands and representatives.
7. You Should Vote
For anyone eager to get their permanent voters' card (PVC), Wura Alese has built a website that will send you send a reminder once INEC begins registration.
The end goal of You Should Vote, Wura said, is to get as many people as possible to register to vote by using the platform to make the electoral process easier. But for now, you can set a reminder to register for your PVC on You Should Vote.
8. SARS Judicial Panels
Get information about the police brutality or SARS Panel of Inquiry happening across Nigeria on SARS Judicial Panels.
So, I was looking for info on the various Sars Panels of Inquiry that have been set up & everything was pretty scattershot.— Yemisi Adegoke (@briticoyemo) November 20, 2020
There wasn't one place with everything. So, I bullied/cajoled @sirstuffy into helping me collate what's out there.
Here it so far :https://t.co/KCILfDydFz
It is co-created by Olawale Malomo and Yemisi Adegoke.
If there any other resources or tools built to support the worldwide protest against police brutality in Nigeria, please let us know.