Social Intervention Advocacy Foundation
The Social Intervention Advocacy Foundation (SIAF) uses social media campaigning to help bridge the gap between Nigeria’s citizens and governmental institutions, with particular focus on providing relief for citizens whose rights are abused. SIAF began as a Corporate Social Responsibility project of Aliensmedia, a media and technology company, and it was registered as an NGO in 2017. The organization has a lean structure that operates mostly on existing social media and mobile phone infrastructure, with funding from Aliensmedia and donations from members of its board of trustees. SIAF focuses in particular on the shortcomings of Nigeria’s security institutions and how these institutional failings violate the rights of Nigerian citizens. A major highlight of SIAF’s advocacy has been its campaign to reform the Nigerian Police and dismantle its Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) - a unit set up to combat violent crime, but which has now morphed into a rogue police cartel responsible for abductions, torture, illegal detentions and extra-judicial killings. The campaign is popularly known with the Twitter hashtags #EndSARS #ReformPoliceNG.
Theory of Change
Engaging the authorities through collaborative problem-solving advocacy campaigns provides immediate relief for citizens whose rights are abused and is more effective than the traditional approach of partisan and combative methods such as protests to demand wide-scale political change.
Since October 2017, SIAF has carried out several interventions and has led campaigns around the culture of impunity within the Nigerian Police structure. The #EndSARS #ReformPoliceNG Movement provided interventions to improve police conduct and increase accountability. The aggressive social media campaign, in collaboration with other civil society organizations, has attracted unprecedented social media recognition and public support in Nigeria. Citizens frequently report cases of police brutality to SIAF on social media who then escalate the reports to the Nigerian Police Public Complaints and Rapid Response Unit. SIAF also initiated a petition to House of Representatives and the Senate demanding police reforms and advocated for new legislation addressing human rights violations. SIAF has also helped midwife the #NIS2000 campaign - an intervention into the unjustly sacked recruits of the Nigerian Immigration Service. SIAF has several ongoing projects, such as: (1) a campaign that holds banks accountable to depositors, thereby curbing institutional arrogance and condescending customer relations, and provides free legal representation to support frustrated depositors; (2) a campaign that uses satire to educate parents on responsible parenting while highlighting what constitutes parental negligence, child abandonment, false imprisonment, child rights act breach etc.
SIAF’s petition on police reform was signed by almost 50,000 people. Many citizens have been able to seek redress from the Nigerian Police authorities through this civil society initiative. In August 2018, the #EndSARS campaign forced Nigeria's then acting president to issue an order overhauling the unit. SIAF’s campaigns have also influenced the expeditious passing of a Police Reform Bill and the Police Trust Fund Bill by Nigeria’s senate. Both bills now await the assent of Nigeria’s President. In 2016, SIAF’s #NIS2000 campaign succeeded in getting 888 of 2,000 unjustly sacked officers of the Nigerian Immigration Service re-absorbed into the service.