The #EndSARS protest in Nigeria and political force of image production and circulation on social media

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Abstract / Description of output

For many years, the unit of the Nigeria Police Force, Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) was accused of violent crimes and violation of human rights of citizens. Between October and November 2020, multitude of Nigerian youths took to the streets to demand for abolition of SARS, thus #EndSARS protest. Photography was at the heart of the social movement. Employing digital methods including compositional analysis and audience interpretation, this paper examines a selection of #EndSARS-related photographs and their accompanying commentsretrieved from social media. I investigate the modes of creating the images and how they produce political effects. I argue that the use of images in the #EndSARS protest illuminates the rising conviction among Nigerians that photography can aid in the transformation of their precarious living conditions. These include the use of the camera in the conventional sense of framing the fleeting world. Others are digital editing of photographs, staged production and appropriation of images that may have no connection with the protests. Then, I analyse as political act the sense of obligation with which the images are produced and circulated. These lines of enquiry contribute to the emerging work on how photography and social media are converging to transform the political sphere.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-22
Number of pages22
JournalIkenga International Journal of the Institute of African studies
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2021


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