Giving Compass' Take:

• Akindare Okunola describes the recent online protests in Nigeria against sexual violence and police brutality in the wake of three disturbing, gender-based acts of violence.

• How are online and social media platforms effective in pushing for meaningful change? What can you do to aid in the fight against brutally oppressive societal norms? How are you helping support the online protests in Nigeria and around the world?

• Learn more about how you can join the fight for empowering women in Nigeria.

In Nigeria, a trio of high-profile cases of violence perpetrated against women have sparked large online protests, as citizens and activists alike demand action from government leaders to combat both gender-based violence and police brutality.

The current spate of online protests was set off last week after 16-year-old Tina Ezekwe was killed when police opened fire on a bus stop in Lagos, Nigeria’s commercial capital. The incident happened during a COVID-19 nighttime curfew.

Days later, the protest momentum increased after 22-year-old university student Vera Uwaila Omozuma, known as Uwa, was raped and killed in her church in Edo State, Southwestern Nigeria. News reports say she had been studying in the church hall.

On Tuesday this week, an 18-year-old undergraduate Barakat Bello, was reportedly found dead in her home in Ibadan, Oyo State. She had been raped and killed. At the time of writing, there have been over 57,000 tweets protesting Barakat’s murder and further amplifying the online protests.

The Nigeria protests — which have gained momentum following the Black Lives Matter protests against racial inequality in the US — have adopted hashtags including #JusticeForUwa, #JusticeForBaraka, and #SayNoToRape, as citizens and activists alike express concerns on the roles police brutality, incompetence, and neglect play in maligning women in Nigerian society.

Online protests have become a veritable tool for Nigerians to demand accountability from their leaders in a country where bloggers are often arrested for “insulting” government officials, and protests are often clamped down violently by police forces.

"Social media is a tool to bring light on police, or institutions," Segun Awosanya, the head of Social Intervention Advocacy Foundation, told AFP news agency. "Once the light is on them, they have to go back to the cases and dig them up. They can't keep quiet anymore."

Read the full article about online protests in Nigeria by Akindare Okunola at Global Citizen.