How ’101 Fake News on ENDSARS’ Changed my Perception
By Zaynab Abubakar El-Nafaty
The EndSARS movement had already taken a violent turn by the time I became aware of it in 2020. Majority of the news pertaining to it was concentrated on Twitter, a platform I barely used at that point in time.
Just as I was beginning to understand the message behind the movement, the Lekki Massacre was being covered on media outlets and I was unable to make sense out of all the stories coming out in quick succession. So with the rest of the nation, I prayed for the families of the people that were lost as well as for the peaceful resolution of what I considered at the time to be an unmitigated violence.
Two years down line, I now know better and understand how far some Nigerians can go, how creative they are in telling fantastic lies and doing all manner of subterfuge to sustain the lies.
I recently saw a copy of ‘101 Fake News on EndSARS’ written by Dahiru M. Lawal. The Book, which is divided into six chapters, covers different sides of the movement and different developments in the course of the EndSARS rallies.
From triggering news items to reports emerging from certain locations e.g Lekki every piece written is concisely and clearly tackled and every false claim fact-checked and the findings are presented with clarity and superior arguments.
The Book also provides the readers with confirmed links to each of the claims and counter claims for further information. The lies that dominated the protest which were exposed in the Book include but not limited to; the viral picture of a Ugwu Blessing on Twitter, a video blaming the government for King’s College being set ablaze, an Army officer posting live footage of the shooting from Lekki, Tinubu instructing police officers to open fire at protestors and so much more.
To delve even further into the investigative research conducted by the author, the revised and updated edition of Book covers the EndSARS panel report that was submitted by Justice Doris Okowubi, Chairperson of the Judicial panel probing the allegations of brutality against the protesters in Lagos.
From the depth of the content of the new edition, it is obvious that the author had painstakingly gone through the 300-page document and read between the lines. That was how he was able to point out inconsistencies in the document that managed to confuse the reading public. As the Book makes us to understand, the shoddiness in the panel report exposed the lack of precision in the committees fact checking tools, most notably in the confirmation of the number and names of the victims of the Lekki shooting as well as their cause of deaths.
Saying this brilliant piece of literature was an eye opener would be understating the massive impact I felt after reading it. From the meticulous organisation of all the fake news items and the diligent fact-checks that followed, to the follow ups covering the EndSARS panel report, it was unnerving to read about the devastating consequences of disinformation that began from the streets and up to the offices of esteemed institutions dedicated to the safety of our nation. The narrative of a mass movement that wished to bring a positive change to our society was overwhelmed by the antics of unpatriotic elements who were hellbent on imposing chaos on the country.
To me, this Book reintroduces the need for caution when interacting with the social media and reminds one about the crucial skill of critical thinking, especially when it pertains to the state of our country.
Zaynab Abubakar El-Nafaty can be reached via: [email protected]