In Nigeria, #EndSARS is now more than just a hashtag
Protests across cities in Nigeria is helping to show
in partnership with FLUTTERWAVE, ENDEAVOR & TECHPOINT 12.10.2020
Good morning. "#EndSARS is the people’s movement, join or get out of the way." In today's edition: -#EndSARS -Banking fraud -Telecoms in Lesotho
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#ENDSARS
Not so Twitter fingers now...
I woke up to an interesting text message on Sunday morning. "Would I be correct to call these protests the biggest rally by Nigerians since we returned to democracy," the sender asked. I had to think about it for a while but, yes, the #EndSARS protests, simultaneously holding in many Nigerian cities since Friday are the country's biggest rallies. What is driving the protests? Members of a sub-division of the Nigerian Police Force called the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) have been accused and convicted of every crime in the book. Torture, murder, extortion...
To understand the scale of the SARS problem: almost everyone in Nigeria has a SARS story. The #EndSARS hashtag on Twitter has been used to highlight run-ins with the unit over the years. To make these incidents more visible, a website is now documenting some of these experiences. What we're learning from Nigeria's protests According to one Twitter user, "this protest has been organized, funded and powered by Joe Q. Public." Nigerians have learned from the past. In previous protests, it was not unusual to find a few protest leaders or organizers. But this weekend's protests have been decentralized. Nigerians in different cities are coming together as separate units to organise and fund the protests. This way, no one person or group can hijack the protests for selfish purposes. Social media has played a big role in the protests, helping to show people where they can join protests and helping to spread the message beyond Nigeria. It has forced the hand of the government. Yesterday, the country's Inspector-General of Police announced that SARS will now be disbanded. This isn't victory yet Nigerians say that despite the Inspector-General's announcement, the protests aren't over. Protesters say they want justice, and for SARS operatives to go through evaluation before they're allowed back into the police force. The complaints about SARS have gone on for so long that no one wants half measures. The protests will go on and our reporting on the issue will continue. Here's some of our coverage of the protests so far:
Remember to stay safe if you're out protesting today. On Tuesday, I'll tell you all about some of the cool ways technology is helping to make the Nigerian protests so efficient. Ahead of that, please do us a solid. You can help us a lot by forwarding this newsletter to five of your friends. If this was forwarded to you, subscribe here.
BANKING
In Kenya, citizens are also using social media to draw attention to an important issue: banking fraud. Some context In 2019 alone, 220,000 bank account holders (3% of bank users in Kenya) reported losing money from their accounts. People have even shared incidents where their accounts were wiped clean by fraudsters. Many victims of bank fraud often blame the bank. The feeling among many people is that banks aren't doing enough to put off fraudsters. How do most of these scams happen? One publication says that the common thread in many of these scams is social engineering. A lot of people are tricked into giving their confidential information to fraudsters because they don't know better. In some other cases, some fraudsters collude with bank staff to pull off some of the scams. But the nature of these scams show that banks could do a lot better to protect their customers. It all comes down to banks One thing is clear: banks need to educate customers better on what kinds of information they should not disclose. People should not learn the risks of disclosing private information only when they have been defrauded. Beyond broad statements like this, one study also recommends that:
  • Banks need to do audits more frequently
  • There should be more audits on risk assessment in internal control processes
Kenya could also take a leaf from Nigeria where a recent Twitter campaign, #MonieSense shows people all the ways scammers attempt to trick you into divulging your personal banking information.
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The events of 2020 prove that technology can be our most powerful asset to tackle social problems. On Oct 23, join Endeavor for a day of inspiring conversations with forward-thinking entrepreneurs who are building our collective future. Learn more!
TELECOMS
In Lesotho, the biggest mobile telecoms operator, Vodacom and the Lesotho Communications Authority (LCA) are duking it out. Where did the drama begin?
On Thursday, the LCA told Vodacom that its unified licence to operate had been revoked. It also imposed a fine of $10 million on Vodacom for allegedly breaching laws that govern companies in Lesotho. That's a big move for a country where Vodacom only has 1.2 million subscribers. But it doesn't make it less of a fight for the telecoms company. LCA says Vodacom Lesotho flouted corporate governance rules by hiring an auditing firm allegedly owned by the sister-in-law of the operator’s chairman, Matjato Moteane. Vodacom wins the first round in court A high court in Lesotho has granted an interim order that prevents the LCA from revoking Vodacom's licence. The court has ordered that the Lesotho Communication Authority (LCA) must appear on 23 October to argue why the interim order shouldn’t be made a final order. Want to go deeper? Here's a helpful analysis of the situation.
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West African startups raised over $1.8 billion between 2010 and 2019, with online retail startups accounting for over half of the amount. To find out more about the activities of startups in the region, origin of founders and types of investors they attracted over the last 10 years, buy a copy of the West African Startup Decade Report here.
AFRILABS ANNUAL GATHERING
Starting today, the first-ever virtual edition of the AfriLabs Annual Gathering will bring together stakeholders in Africa's innovation community to discuss how to grow a thriving innovation economy in Africa by building resilience. The event will hold from October 12th to 14th. Register now at http://bit.ly/AfriLabsAG2020.
#EndSARS

- Olumuyiwa

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