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No, this photo isn’t of Nigeria’s Catholic bishops in #EndSARS protest 

A photo of what seem to be bishops of the Catholic church at the head of a crowd of people walking down a street has been posted on Twitter.

This is the all Nigerian Catholic conference matching in support of the #EndSARS protest,” the tweet reads. “What is your excuse? Lend your voice to #EndPoliceBrutality and #ENDBADGOVERNANCE in Nigeria.”

For two weeks, Nigeria has been hit by protests against police brutality in a campaign known by the hashtag #EndSARS. Sars stands for the Special Anti-Robbery Squad. As the BBC reports, Sars officers have been accused of robbing, attacking and even killing people for years, but new protests demanding police reforms began in early October 2020.

The #EndSARS protests have drawn support from the international community. But does the photo show members of the Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria joining the recent demonstrations?

We checked.

Peaceful protest against Boko Haram and insecurity

A Google reverse image search led us to an Independent Catholic News report on bishops taking part in a peaceful protest. The article, dated 2 March 2020, includes the photo.

“Amid a surge in Islamist violence, the Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria (CBCN) yesterday (1st March) led a mass protest in Abuja against the ‘brutal killing of innocent Nigerians’,” the article reads.

“Archbishop Augustine Akubeze, president of the Catholic Bishop Conference of Nigeria, said they had gathered to speak out against ‘the high level of insecurity in every part of Nigeria’.”

The bishops wore black ropes to mourn Christians killed by Boko Haram and protest the collapse of security in the country.

While some religious leaders – including Catholic priests – have lent their voices to the #EndSARS protest, the photo is months old and not relevant to the recent protests. – Motunrayo Joel


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