Popular hacking group, Anonymous has claimed via its Twitter handle, that it had breached some Nigerian government websites.
The act is said to be in support of the ongoing #EndSARS protest that has taken over many cities in Nigeria, following calls for the disbandment of notorious police unit, the Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad (FSARS) which has been alleged to be involved in abduction, harassment, extortion and murder of innocent victims.
Anonymous tweet, “Nigeria: Anonymous hacks multiple government websites in solidarity with #EndSARS protestors and retribution for violence by police. #OpNigeria #EndSARS Protest.”
— Anonymous (@YourAnonCentral) October 14, 2020
That said Anonymous did not disclose the identity of websites breached.
Nairametrics had earlier given vital insights on how for years, young Nigerians, mostly via social media, have called for the unit to be disbanded and rogue elements in the force brought to justice. Despite repeated promises by the government, they have failed to heed to their demands, triggering a new wave of protests that have now spread across the country.
What you should know
Anonymous is a popular decentralized global activist group that is popularly known for many cyberattacks against several governments, government agencies, corporations, and the Church of Scientology.
Why it matters
From demanding an end to SARS, prosecution of rogue police officers, and reforms; protesters are more emboldened, threatening to continue if all their demands are not met. The government is scrambling to contain a situation that is escalating and could dangerously metamorphose into violent clashes with authorities, leading to loss of lives and destruction of properties.
Just-in: Again, Osun declares 24-hour curfew
Osun State Governor, Gboyega Oyetola has again, re-imposed the earlier suspended 24-hour curfew in the state.
Osun State has imposed a 24-hour curfew in the state. The decision is coming barely 24 hours after the initial curfew, which was suspended.
The announcement was made by Governor Gboyega Oyetola in a statement shared via the Twitter handle of the state on Saturday.
According to him, the curfew takes immediate effect and it is indefinite.
According to him, the curfew was reintroduced to “prevent the current state of anarchy from degenerating into a large-scale breakdown of law and order.”
He said, “Government notes with huge disappointment, the abuse of the suspension, a day ago, of the 24-hour curfew earlier declared in the State to forestall the breakdown of law and order and protect the lives and property of citizens and residents.
“It is unfortunate that hoodlums and criminals have taken advantage of government’s action to wantonly loot government and private property, including private business premises and homes in several parts of the State this morning. This is unacceptable and it stands condemned.
“After an Emergency Security Meeting this afternoon, where the whole situation was reviewed and assessed, we came to the inevitable conclusion to declare a curfew. Consequently, I hereby declare a 24-hour curfew across the whole State with immediate effect.
“This inevitable conclusion was reached to avert the continuation of this irresponsible act, especially now that the genuine protesters have suspended their protest earlier today.”
Governor Oyetola imposes another 24-hour curfew with immediate effect, until further notice, following the looting of Govt &Private properties, including private business premises &homes.
Click to read full texthttps://t.co/VKoGA2J5zA
— Government of Osun (@StateofOsun) October 24, 2020
#EndSARS: A day by day timeline of the protest that has brought Nigeria to its knees.
This is a day by day account of the #ENDSARs protest since it started from October 3rd.
Nigerian youths embarked on a peaceful protest tagged #EndSARS to demand the disbandment of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) unit, as well as, other reforms in the Nigerian Police Force (NPF). What started out as a peaceful demonstration by thousands of youths, degenerated into chaos after the protests were hijacked by hoodlums.
The hijacked protest is now characterized by the heavy presence of security personnel on the streets of Lagos, mob attacks on security personnel, killings, and vandalization of public and private properties.
The Birth of #EndSARS
The #EndSARS movement dates back to 2017, where Nigerian youths used the hashtag to share their experiences on violence and assault perpetrated by the defunct Special Anti-Robbery Squad. However, the movement only revived in early October, after a video emerged of police officers thought to be members of the SARS unit, allegedly killing an unarmed young man.
This prompted Nigerian youths to troop to Twitter, calling on the Federal Government for police reform with the hashtag, #EndSARS, #Endpolicebrutality, and many more. The hashtag trended continuously on Twitter as Nigerian youths aired their pain and experiences online.
Nairametrics captured the timeline of notable events from the moment it all began to the latest developments.
Saturday, October 3rd, 2020
- A viral message broadcast on social media suggested men of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad SARS had gunned down a Nigerian youth, snatched his car, and sped off with it. The person who recorded the video can be heard making frantic yells at anyone watching the video to see what had transpired.
- As the video spread on Social media, the hashtag #ENDSARS started to garner momentum as more young people demanded an end to the brutal police unit that has for years brutalized young Nigerians.
- As twitter raged on, reports indicate SARS officials stopped the young man, pushed him out of his vehicle, shot him, and went away with the vehicle.
- As the video spread, several other young Nigerians, particularly those from the tech community recalled their experience and started lamenting on Twitter, escalating into a fury of outburst that eventually morphed into one of the largest youth organized protests in the history of Nigeria.
Sunday, 4th October 2020
- As Social media protest raged on, Nigeria’s Minister for State for Labour, Festus Keyamo revealed the young man was not dead and shared a picture of him in a hospital with head wounds.
- The Nigerian Police Force, through the Inspector General of Police, announced the ban of SARS members and other Tactical Squads from carrying out routine patrols and other conventional low-risk duties, stop and search duties, checkpoints, mounting of roadblocks, traffic checks, etc with immediate effect.
- Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo disclosed that President Muhammadu Buhari wants to see reforms in the Nigerian Police Force.“We reviewed several of these issues. The President and I have had discussions on this, he is very concerned about it. He wants to see reforms.”
- House of Rep member, Honourable Akin Alabi filed a motion with the House of Reps to dissolve the Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad (FSARS). Alabi who represents Ona-Ara/Egbeda Federal Constituency of Oyo State disclosed his intentions to dissolve the Unit today and the issue is set to be discussed during the plenary session this week.
Wednesday, 7th October 2020
- Youths in Lagos State set out for a three-day protest to call for the disbandment of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) unit of the Nigeria Police Force, as part of the push for reforms in the police system to put an end to the extra-judicial activities of the agency. Youths were seen marching to the Force Headquarters at Ikeja, carrying placards with various inscriptions such as “Protect, not exploit”, “Nigeria police stop killing us,” amongst other printed messages.
- This was the start of a 14-day protest that eventually turned violent and hijacked by hoodlums.
- The Speaker of the House of Reps, Femi Gbajabiamila says that the House will draft new legislation to establish a system of accountability for the Nigerian police.
Thursday, October 8th, 2020
- Nigerian musicians join protests showing their support for the calls to #ENDSARS.
- Nigerian artistes such as Tiwa Savage, Runtown, Falz, Wulrd, and DJ Spinal were amongst the first to join the protest carrying placards that said: “No to SARS”.
- Meanwhile, The Inspector General of Police (IGP), Mohammed Adamu, warned against attacks on law enforcement officers by the ENDSARS protesters following the reported murder of one policeman, injury to another, and alleged stealing of arms and ammunition by the protesters.
Friday, 9th October 2020
- The Nigerian Bar Association condemn the serial breaches of the fundamental rights of Nigerians by officers of the Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad (FSARS) and urged that the Police put in place demonstratable measures to ensure proper enforcement and monitoring of the new directives.
- Former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar says he condemns any use of force on #EndSARS protesters across the nation and urges the FG to listen to the youth and investigate the use of force on protesters.
- Lagos State through its Gbenga Omotoso, Commissioner for Information and Strategy said it has noted the protests against the brutality of the Special Anti- Robbery Squad (SARS) and says it agrees that such acts of brutality must stop.
- The management of Flutterwave Inc announced the opening of a public fund aimed at catering for the medical bills of those injured during the protest against the brutality of officers of the Federal Anti-Robbery Squad.
- President Buhari through his Twitter handle revealed he had ordered the Inspector General of Police to address Nigerians appealing for calm and patience. “The IG already has my firm instructions to conclusively address the concerns of Nigerians regarding these excesses, & ensure erring personnel are brought to justice. I appeal for patience & calm, even as Nigerians freely exercise their right to peacefully make their views known.
Saturday, 10th of October 2020
- Other startups joined Flutterwave in raising funds to support the EndSARS protest and stop police brutality. The funds were also to be channeled towards treating victims of Police Brutality.
- The Governor of Oyo State, Seyi Makinde questioned why State Governors are called Chief Security Officers and don’t have the necessary powers to control police force. The Governor disclosed this in a statement while reacting to the death of Jimoh Isiaka, a protester killed by the Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad (FSARS) on Saturday.
- Isiaka was allegedly killed by the Nigerian Police on Saturday in Ognomosho over the #EndSARS protests against police brutality. The Police claimed they did not shoot protesters. Makinde received the news of Isiaka’s passing with “deep sadness” after he was declared dead at the Bowen University Teaching Hospital, Ogbomoso
- The killing of Jimoh Isiaka angered more protesters leading to a massive coalition to move the protest from social media to the streets.
Sunday, 11th October 2020
- The Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, via his Twitter handle, disclosed that the operations of the Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad (FSARS) has been dissolved across all 36 states and the Federal Capital with immediate effect.
- The first major gathering of protests along the Lekki-Epe expressway took place disrupting the traffic along the 49.5-kilometer road.
- Iconic images of the protests start to spread across social media spurring more young Nigerians into joining the protest to show solidarity.
- Most motorists did not get home will early in the morning the next day, some as late as 3 am.
Monday, 12th October 2020
- Protesters gathered at the Lekki VI toll gate making it the epicenter of the call for the End of SARS.
- President Buhari addressed the SARS protest in his first televised speech saying, “The disbanding of SARS is only the first step in our commitment to extensive police reforms in order to ensure that the primary duty of the police and other law enforcement agencies remains the protection of lives and livelihood of our people.”
- The protest was now over a week old.
- Meanwhile, reports on Social Media indicates protesters were being attacked by Police in an attempt to quell the protests.
- Amnesty International announces that the Nigerian Police Force has killed 10 persons since the anti-police brutality protests started last week against the Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad (FSARS)
- The Governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Wike announced that all forms of protest have been banned in the state, therefore the proposed #EndSARS protest in Port Harcourt for Tuesday 13th October 2020 should not hold. He disclosed this in a social media statement on Monday evening, after the Lagos protests turned violent, as police allegedly attacked protesters in Surulere, Lagos.
- Olumide Akpata, President of the Nigerian Bar Association(NBA), said the association is working to secure the release of protesters in the #EndSARS protests.
- Police shootings were reported around Surulere, a suburb in Lagos with one protester allegedly killed by the Police. Social media video also revealed a Police officer shot from an alleged friendly fire.
- The Lagos State Government says reports of a protester getting killed in Surulere #EndSARS protests was not true, and that the casualty was a bystander who was hit by hoodlums trying to free two suspects standing trial for alleged kidnapping.
- Nigerian celebrity and superstar, Davido meets with the IG of Police in Abuja calling for a psychological reevaluation of Policemen.
Tuesday, 13th October 2020
- The Lagos State Government set up a N200 million fund for residents in the states who have been victims of police brutality. This was made known by the state governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu while addressing protesters in Alausa, Ikeja area of Lagos State.
- He requested a list of names of Lagos State residents that have been affected by police brutality.
- The Inspector-General of Police announced the set up of a new Police outfit known as Special Weapons and Tactics Team (SWAT) to take over from the dissolved Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS).
- He also ordered all personnel of the disbanded unit to report to the force headquarters in Abuja for debriefing, psychological and medical examination.
- The Presidential Panel on Police Reforms set up by the government met and okayed the five demands made by the #EndSARS protesters across the country.
- Despite the ban of protesting activities in Rivers State, residents of Port Harcourt defied the Governor and marched to the Government House while chanting the song “solidarity forever”.
- Nigeria’s immediate past president, Goodluck Jonathan weighed in on the protest, saying that Nigerians don’t deserve to lose their lives while protesting peacefully for the advancement of their country.
- The Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu ordered the personnel of the disbanded Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) to report to the force headquarters in Abuja for debriefing, psychological and medical examination.
Wednesday, 14th October 2020
- The Federal Government declared that no Police Officer of any unit is allowed to look into people’s phones, or look at the type of vehicle they are using, or profiling them to see whether they are yahoo boys or not. The Inspector-General of police also stated that “Justice will be done. An investigation team will be constituted which will include Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), to identify all abuses, and officers that are found culpable will be punished.”
- Chairman of Flutterwave denies he personally directed the suspension of the fintech firm’s payment platform.
- One of the leading NGOs currently campaigning against police brutality in Nigeria, Feminist Coalition announced that it had raised the total sum of N37,355,149.48 in crowdfunding for the protest which is aimed at supporting protesters.
- FinTech advocates reveal plans to start adopting cryptocurrencies to raise funds to support to protest. This was in reaction to rumours that the CBN had instructed banks to stop allowing their platforms to be used to raise funds.
- Billionaire boss of the leading social media platform Twitter, and payments company Square, Jack Dorsey, joined the support of the #EndSARS protest that has overtaken Nigeria. His tweet was the first major social media support from a Founder of a social media platform.
Thursday, 15th October 2020
- The popular hacking group, Anonymous claimed via its Twitter handle, that it had breached some Nigerian government websites. This was the start of many other hacking of government social media assets.
- One of the most revered men in Nigeria, the General Overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG), Pastor E. A. Adeboye says he supports the peaceful #EndSARS protests.
- The Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) announced that all street demonstrations have been banned after a wave of #EndSARS protests in the city due to police brutality. This came on the back of protesters still actively demonstrating on the streets, despite the Federal Government scrapping the unit.
- The Governor of Lagos State disclosed that the State Government has arrested and is currently probing police officers that were involved in brutalizing protesters at the Surulere protest venue.
- The Nigerian Governors Forum (NGF) demanded that all the police officers who participated in actions that led to injury or death of Nigerians must be brought to justice. This was disclosed by the Ekiti State Governor and NGF Chairman, Kayode Fayemi, on after the governors, held a meeting with the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu.
Friday, 16th October 2020
- The Police Service Commission reportedly listed the names of 37 former members of the disbanded Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) for dismissal from service.
- The Minister for Africa for the UK Government, James Duddridge MP, says the United Kingdom is monitoring the #EndSARS protests in Nigeria and called for a peaceful police reform process.
- The Vice President of Nigeria, Yemi Osinbajo, broke his silence on the #EndSARS protests to announce that the 36 State Governors and the FCT Minister will set up judicial panels of inquiry that will adopt public hearings.
- The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has debunked rumours that its website was hacked. Information on social media suggests the Apex bank had its website hacked.
- The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) announced that it has constituted members of an independent investigation panel into the activities of the dissolved SARS, as the Federal Government finds a way to end the nationwide protests.
Saturday, 17th October 2020
- The Governor of Lagos State, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu announced through his official Twitter handle, that the trial of the erring police officers who were allegedly involved in the attack on #EndSARS Protesters in Surulere, which led to the death of one of them had started on Friday, October 16, 2020.
- The Nigerian Army announced that it will commence a nationwide Exercise Crocodile Smile VI from the 20th of October to the 31st of December. It will be a cyber warfare exercise designed to identify, track, and counter negative propaganda on social media. Meanwhile, the military later claims it was not targeted at protesters.
- By now protests had spread nationwide with many other cities joining in to demand an end to SARS.
Sunday, 18th October 2020
- #EndSARS protesters launched a helpline center and an online radio platform named ‘Soro Soke’ to aid the coordination of the protesters nationwide through effective and timely communication.
- The Senate President, Ahmed Lawan called for an end to the #EndSARS protests after a closed-door meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila at the State House in Abuja.
- The Governor of Lagos State, Babajide Sanwo-Olu announced the terms of reference of the Judicial Panel of Inquiry and Restitution into abuses by the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS).
- The #EndSARS protesters reportedly blocked the headquarter of the Central Banks of Nigeria in Abuja so as to prevent activities at the apex bank on Monday.
- Meanwhile, the former Lagos State Governor and National Leader of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Bola Ahmed Tinubu, reacted to media reports that he was among those sponsoring #EndSARS protesters across the country. While denying the allegation and exonerating himself, Tinubu advised Nigerians to jettison the news.
- The Lekki/Ikoyi tollgates were unblocked by protesters allowing for vehicular movement.
Monday, 19th October 2020
- Lagos State Government inaugurated an 8-man Judicial Panel of Inquiry and Restitution to investigate cases of police brutality in the state. This was disclosed by the Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, who cited Section 5 of Tribunals of Inquiry Law, Laws of Lagos State, 2015 as a legal justification to set up the panel.
- Edo State Government announced the imposition of a 24-hour curfew across the state with effect from 4pm. This was due to incidents of vandalism and attacks reportedly carried out by hoodlums who hijacked the #EndSARS protests.
- Soldiers were deployed to the streets of Abuja and stationed in strategic places to curb the #EndSARS protest that has in some cases gone out of hand as suspected hoodlums were reportedly attacking protesters and pro-SARS groups.
- Meanwhile, protesters continued their protests at the Lekki Toll Plaza with more youth pouring into the streets of Lagos. Reports indicate the protest had cost was adversely affecting the Lagos economy. A Lagos State Government source revealed they had lost at least N234m to the closure of tollgates since the commencement of the #EndSARS protests, although the state has continued to generate money from adverts at the toll plazas.
Tuesday, 20th October 2020
- The Speaker of the Federal House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, vowed that he will not sign off the 2021 Appropriation Bill presently before the National Assembly if adequate provisions are not made for the compensation of the families of the victims of police brutality and meeting the demands of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU).
- Suspected miscreants and arsonists burnt down the Dutse Makaranta police station in the Kubwa area of Abuja. This is after the clash between policemen and #EndSARS protesters in the area where a protester, Anthony Onome, was stabbed on Saturday and a stray bullet hit and killed another protester, who died on the spot.
- At 11:49 am, the Lagos State Government announced the imposition of a 24-hour curfew in all parts of the state, with effect from 4 pm Tuesday, October 20, 2020. This was due to the hijacked #EndSARS protests in the state, where hoodlums attacked citizens and destroyed properties.
- At about 4 pm, the IG of Nigerian Police Force, M.A Adamu, ordered the immediate nationwide deployment of anti-riot police unit, Police Mobile Force (PMF), over attacks on police facilities by hoodlums during the #EndSARS protests.
- About noon, a police station in the Orile-Iganmu area of Lagos State was set on fire by suspected thugs. Eyewitnesses who shared videos via their Twitter accounts said the reprisal attacks were allegedly fueled by the shooting of one person in that area by policemen.
- The United States embassy and consulate in Nigeria, announced the shutting down of its consulate in Lagos State for two days with effect from Tuesday, October 20, 2020, due to the hijacked #EndSARS protests.
- US airline Delta turns back passenger airline en route to Nigeria from the United States. The airline had a stopover in Dakar Senegal but had to go back to the US after several reports of violence. The airline canceled subsequent flights into Nigeria.
- Meanwhile, The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) denied the alleged shut of the nation’s airspace due to the unrest, arising from the hijacked #EndSARS protests in Lagos, Abuja, and some other states in the country.
Lekki Toll Shooting
- At about 6.45 pm Tuesday, October 20th, several social media accounts revealed peaceful protesters were allegedly being shot at by the Nigerian military at the Lekki toll gate holdout.
- Lagos State Government had issued a directive to extend the enforcement of its 24hour curfew from 4 pm today to 9 pm, to enable residents stuck in traffic get to their destinations. This was disclosed by the State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu on Tuesday evening via the state’s official Twitter handle.
- At about 10 pm, the Lagos State Government orders an investigation into the Lekki Toll Plaza shooting that was allegedly done by men of the Nigerian Army on Tuesday evening. This was disclosed in a statement issued by the state’s Commissioner of Information and Strategy, Mr. Gbenga Omotoso, via his Twitter handle.
- Former US Presidential Candidate, Hillary Clinton, calls on President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration and the Nigerian Army to stop the killing of young protesters in the country. Several other notable leaders across the world start tweeting about the alleged “massacre” at the Lekki Toll.
- At around 11 pm, GT Bank’s branch on Admiralty Way, Lekki, Lagos state was allegedly set ablaze in the middle of the night by hoodlums disguised as #EndSARS protesters. This was disclosed by eyewitnesses around the affected branch, through their respective Twitter accounts.
Wednesday, 21st October 2020
- The Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Mohammed Adamu ordered the withdrawal of all Police Officers attached to Very Important Persons (VIPs) across the country, with the exemption of those in Government houses, the Senate President and the Speaker of the House of Representatives.
- Lagos State Government suspended all government activities and declared lockdown for 72 hours in view of growing violence in the state. The Governor had earlier visited the injured protesters at the hospitals where they received treatment and also stated via a broadcast that there was no record of fatality in the controversial Lekki Toll Plaza shooting on Tuesday.
- Lagos State Governor Jide Sanwo-Olu confirms two people had died as a result of the Lekki Shooting.
- The United Kingdom High Commission in Nigeria announced the shutdown of its VISA application centers in Nigeria for the next 48 hours, with immediate effect, due to the ongoing #EndSARS protests in the country.
- Television Continental (TVC) station in the Ikosi-Ketu area of Lagos state has been allegedly burnt down by hoodlums who attacked the building. This was disclosed by some residents, who sent videos on social media.
- The headquarters of the Nigerian Ports Authority in Marina, Lagos was also reportedly set on fire by hoodlums involved in the #EndSARS protests.
- Around 1 am, The Nigerian Army took to their official Twitter handle and denied deploying soldiers to attack #EndSARS protesters who defied the imposed curfew and peacefully assembled at the Lekki Toll Plaza.
- Nigerian football players, local and international celebrities take to their Twitter handle to condemn the alleged shooting of protesters at the Lekki Tollgate.
Thursday, 22nd October 2020
- In an interview session with Arise TV, the Governor of Lagos State, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu said that the curfew initially imposed for 72 hours could be lifted partially within 24 hours, to allow Lagosians re-stock on food and critical household items.
- The Governor also responded to the question on who ordered the removal of the CCTV at the toll gate and the switching off of the light. “Nobody ordered, they were the security of LCC on the ground. I called the security of LCC that night and because of the curfew they took off the installation. That camera that you saw is not a security camera it is a laser camera that picks your number plate… The security camera is still available. The Managing Director of LCC does not have a reporting line to me.”
- Sanwo -Olu said he is yet to speak with the President, following the Lekki shootings that occurred on Tuesday evening
- Later in the evening by 7 pm, Nigeria’s President Buhari addresses the country in a nationwide broadcast. In his remarks about the protest, the president said he was pained that innocent lives were lost. “All these executed in the name of the ENDSARS protests. I am indeed deeply pained that innocent lives have been lost. These tragedies are uncalled for and unnecessary.”
- Most critics on social media expressed anger, as they felt his speech to the nation, did not mention the Lekki Tollgate shooting.
Friday, 23rd October 2020
- In his speech, President Muhammadu Buhari pointed out that the promptness with which the Federal Government acted in meeting the demands of the #EndSARS protesters seemed to have been misconstrued as a sign of weakness and twisted by some for their selfish unpatriotic interests. Most critics saw this as a disguised threat against further protests.
- Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu said the Lagos State government is working towards stabilizing things across the state and rebuilding through verification of victims and has called on youth leaders to provide representatives for a judicial panel.
- US Senate leader, Elizabeth Warren called for the United States to stand with the Nigerian people over the #EndSARS protests to demand justice and equality for the victims.
- President Muhammadu Buhari presides over a National Security Council meeting with some former heads of state and some security chiefs.
- The Lagos State Government released a schedule of cases to be heard in the criminal prosecution of police officers for offenses related to violation of human rights in the state.
- Feminist Coalition, a not-for-profit organization and one of the leading supporters of the #EndSARS campaign, informed all financial supporters of the campaign to stop sending funds to the group, while also revealing plans for the remaining donated funds.
- Instagram apologized for its algorithm malfunction that lead to the dismay of its users, saying that its algorithm incorrectly flagged the posts, “Yesterday our systems were incorrectly flagging content in support of #EndSARS and marking posts as false. We are deeply sorry for this. The issue has now been resolved, and we apologize for letting our community down in such a time of need,”
- The Lagos State Government eased the 24-hour curfew which was earlier imposed on Tuesday, October 2020, to now run from 6 pm to 8 am.
- Coca-Cola Nigeria announced it made a donation of N20 Million to cover the medical costs of victims of the #EndSARS protests in hospitals.
Note: This timeline is updated daily.
Tayo Oviosu, the journey from Software Engineer to Pagatech
Our focus for this week’s profile is Tayo Oviosu, founder and CEO of notable payment solutions provider, Pagatech.
Global trends in recent times have shown a shift towards a cashless and digital economy, especially as it becomes more obvious that operations in physical branches of commercial banks can be summarily shut down when circumstances demand it.
Our focus for this week’s profile is Tayo Oviosu, founder and CEO of a notable payment solutions provider, Pagatech, the startup that blazed the trail for others in the space. Though there are now over 200 fintech players, Paga still holds its ground.
Eyitayo David Oviosu was born on September 10, 1977, and acquired both his primary and secondary education in Nigeria. He left for the United States of America in 1994 and bagged his first degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Southern California in 1998. He later earned a Masters in Business Administration from the Graduate School of Business, Stanford University from 2003 to 2005.
Schooling was not a smooth ride for Tayo as he had to work his way through, sometimes keeping as much as 5 jobs in order to stay afloat. He also had hard times with courses like Semiconductor Chip Design, which he admitted was one of his toughest courses, as he hardly aced it despite his love for the subject.
Attempting to break a rock
Fresh out of school, he opted to take the same Semiconductor Chip Design as a career option in Biomorphic VLSI, a startup of 8 employees, hoping to get better at it with more practice. The young Tayo worked weekdays and weekends trying to get a hang of the task before him.
“I was allowed to design a digital imaging chip that got sent to Taiwan for fabrication. I had tested this thing numerous times in the lab; I was confident it was going to work. Then the fabricated chip comes back and it doesn’t work. I was devastated, we spent a lot of money shipping between Los Angeles and Taiwan,” he once recounted.
Having caused the company to spend so much for nothing, he was fired from the job.
“I got called into my boss’ office and he told me he had to let me go. I cried right there. This was my first job out of college and barely 3 months in,” he said.
Though unhappy at the time, he later came to appreciate how the job loss pointed him in the right career path and pushed him out of a line where he would have continued struggling to keep up. In the subsequent months, he survived on the unemployment benefits he collected from the state of California, before getting a job in a mail-room and then a call center.
He eventually got a job as a Software Engineer for another startup in Los Angeles, before he moved to Deloitte Consulting in the CRM and Technology practice as a Senior Consultant.
After his MBA, he worked as Manager Corporate Development with Cisco Systems in San Jose California, where he was responsible for strategy, acquisitions, and private equity investments in a few segments and led Cisco’s investment expansion in Africa with investment opportunities. He became Vice President at Travant Capital Partners in Lagos upon his return to Nigeria and remained there till 2009.
Moving towards a cashless economy
In 2009, Tayo founded Pagatech as a mobile payments solution focused on digitizing cash amidst new emerging economies. Even while working at the call center, Tayo had always thought that he would return to Nigeria at some point to help make it great again. For Tayo, founding Pagatech was all about addressing two challenges – the excessive use of cash, and limited financial access in Nigeria. He wanted to help Nigerians pay retailers, make purchases, and pay utility bills without having to handle so much money.
Such innovation was not common at the time, as Nigeria was still very far from toeing the lines of a cashless economy.
Having worked for over a decade, Tayo had saved up some money and had the support of friends, which became instrumental in launching Paga. “I was also creative in terms of how I spent the money. I pooled together people to work in different aspects, most of them friends who were doing it as a favor. Everyone who helped us in the early days got paid below the market rate. Some of them stayed on to work with Paga when we could afford to pay them at market rates,” he recalled.
For the first 6 months, Tayo bootstrapped from his personal funds before setting out to raise funds from investors. It was a journey where he first had to show investors how feasible the business idea was before letting them in.
Some of the initial investors who took the risk to put their funds in were Goodwell Alitheia Capital, Tayo’s former bosses, both in Nigeria and Los Angeles, and some friends and relatives – the result of lots of goodwill built over the years.
Pagatech reached its first 1 million users within 2 years and since then, the number of its users has grown into tens of millions processing billions of dollars in transactions. Paga has also partnered with the apex bank (Central Bank of Nigeria) on the Shared Agent Network Expansion Facilities initiative (SANEF) to grow the reach of agents providing financial services to 500,000 in order to ramp up inclusion for all Nigerians.
Tayo Oviosu has now become an angel investor in other startups.
“When I look at my journey so far, I realize that we are here sitting on the back of 34 people and 6 institutions who took a bet on us on. So I similarly want to find ideas to invest in. I don’t have a lot of money but I want to find people who I can make those kinds of investments and bets as well,” he said.
He has dreams of dual-listing Paga on the NSE and NASDAQ in the nearest future.