Security Crisis Following #LekkiMassacre May Affect Telcos as MTN Subscribers Suffer Outage in Lagos


As reports of soldiers firing on peaceful protesters at Lekki toll gate on October 20 was coming in, several MTN users in the region complained of service outages.

The coordinated nature of the attack against the protesters, with reports of CCTV’s being uninstalled and power disconnected shortly before the shootings, many fear that that internet over the region was also shut down as part of the attack.

However, the telco in a statement has explained the loss of power supply at its hub site along the Lekki axis of Lagos State. According to the company, the outage was due to loss of auxiliary power supply at a hub site in the area.

#ENDSARS Protest becomes bloody

Around 12 pm on October 20, the Lagos state government imposed a 24-hour curfew on the state effective from 4 pm. The govern claimed the protests against police brutality and extrajudicial killings had morphed into violence.

Following the announcement, the #ENDSARS protests became bloody after more than a week of peaceful protest. The turnaround happened when soldiers opened fire on peaceful protesters at the Lekki toll gate in the late hours of Tuesday.

Several videos of soldiers shooting at unarmed protesters and victims lying in pools of blood flooded the internet. According to report about 7 people were killed during the attack.

While eyewitnesses were reporting the incident on social media, several subscribers complained about difficulty accessing services. Joseph Paul a Facebook user claimed he could not recharge and subscribe.

Like him, Ugochukwu Crown also reported similar problems.

Suggested read: #ENDSARS: 8 Location Sharing Apps to Help Track and Find Loved Ones

Slow Internet Across most Networks

Aside MTN, several other subscribers have also reported slow internet and service in their areas since the early hours of Wednesday, October 21.

Umunna, a subscriber of Airtel living in Apapa told Technext that his internet has been very slow since 8 AM.

He is not alone, Goodness who stays in Ebute Metta axis of Yaba also reported slow internet from his internet subscribers.

The most obvious cause of the drag in internet service will be the unrest that has been spreading across the state since videos of the Lekki Massacre leaked. The curfew also hasn’t helped as Experience Centres are expected to be shut down while service personnel might be unavailable.

Suggested read: Our Youth and the Protests – Looking Beyond #EndSARS by Austin Okere

The anger over the Lekki killing has led to several clashes between angry mobs and trigger happy security forces. There have been several reports of killings, looting and burning of properties like TVC office in Ikosi and Oyingbo bus terminal. These would further stress the mobile facilities.

In summary, the current unrest that has spread out across the state may cause severe service issues for subscribers. While some might be technical there are fears that some outages may also be politically influenced.

Quick note: MTN later took down the twitter post where they claimed that Lekki service outage was caused by power outages. While no new statements have been the release the whole situation smells of foul play.

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