ABUJA, NIGERIA — On Friday night, June 4, 2021, the government of Nigeria banned access to Twitter across the country. It was reported that on June 2, Twitter deleted President Buhari’s tweet, where he threatened violence against an Igbo ethnic group, for violating the platform’s community rules.
In light of these events, several civil rights organizations and student movements called for nationwide protests on June 12, a special date in Nigeria’s process of restoration of democracy. On this date in 1993, the first presidential elections were held in Nigeria since the military coup in 1983.
The results that signified the victory of MKO Abiola were annulled by the military, bringing the country to a six-year-long wave of protests and over a hundred deaths of protesters and civil rights activists.
“June 12 is a significant date for Nigerians as it marks the day Nigeria had its freest and fairest elections. It is the ‘celebration’ of the true democracy we never had,” said Olumayowa Okediran, Students For Liberty’s Nigeria-based Director of Student Programs.
Students For Liberty in Nigeria plans to actively engage in the #June12Protest, calling for the reversal of the government ban on Twitter, the release of all detained activists, and justice for #EndSARS victims.
Social Media has played a key role in helping Nigerians hold their government accountable. Last October, many civil rights organizations and activists, including members of Students For Liberty in Nigeria, used the Twitter platform to mobilize the #EndSARS protests, which resulted in the disbandment of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS). It was reported that at least 56 people were killed during the #EndSARS protests in October 2020.
“Even though the SARS unit has been disbanded, we have not seen the end of violence and abusive behavior by the law enforcement officials. Right now, we are presented with one more opportunity to make an impact in the country,” — said Okediran, who had been threatened with his life by police officers just last week in the Ajah neighborhood of Lekki, Nigeria.
The Students For Liberty community is committed to creating an environment where violence, abuse, and unlawful use of force towards any individual is curtailed. Join Students For Liberty in our call to bring freedom and democracy to Nigeria by spreading awareness about the #June12Protest movement.
“Nigerians have switched to VPNs and are calling for a protest through the hashtag #June12Protest on Twitter. We have a head start here. It is our opportunity to restore democratic Nigeria,” concludes Okediran.
Accredited members of the media can arrange interviews with Olumayowa Okediran by contacting Students For Liberty’s Public Relations Manager Julia Kril at [email protected] or by phone at +39 331 146 98 36.
Students For Liberty is a rapidly growing network of pro-liberty students from all over the world. Our mission is to educate, develop, and empower the next generation of leaders of liberty. We are the largest pro-liberty student organization in the world. We accomplish this through a strategy of empowerment, identifying the top student leaders, and training them to be agents of change in their communities.
Featured photo: Members of the African Students For Liberty at the #EndSARS protests, October 2020.