Independence Day, #EndSARS, others top October’s search trends —Google

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By Idris Bakare

The search giant, Google, has released top searches by Nigerians for October.

The search data shows that the country’s 60th Independence Anniversary calls to shut down an allegedly brutal police department ‘#EndSARS’ and Ondo State election results were among the top searches.

These searches, Google said, partially crossed over into the most asked questions, which concerned a leading activist, the whereabouts of the president, and the winner of Big Brother Nigeria.

On 1 October, Nigeria celebrated the 60th anniversary of its independence from Great Britain. What would ideally have been a day of celebration instead turned into a day of protest across the country’s major cities as people expressed their anger over corruption and increases to petrol and electricity prices. Nigeria Independence Day was, nonetheless, the top search for the month.

Protests continued throughout the month as the #EndSARS campaign gained momentum. The campaign called for the disbanding of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), a unit of the Nigerian Police. After SARS was disbanded, protests have continued over police brutality and other issues. As the protests dominated news headlines, online interest grew. As a result, “end sars” was the second most searched term for the month.

Staying with politics, “Ondo election result” was the third most popular term for the month. The poll saw Oluwarotimi Akeredolu reelected as governor of Ondo state. Despite heavy criticism from opposition parties, Akeredolu won by a significant margin.

Other topics trending in October included actress Eniola Badmus, who was falsely rumoured to have been shot during the #EndSARS protests; activist Aisha Yesufu, who has been at the centre of the protests; and rapper Lil Frosh, who was arrested in early October for the alleged assault on his girlfriend Gift Camille.

Yesefu also featured among the most asked questions for the month, topping the list.

Nigerians were also keen to know where President Muhammadu Buhari was. The national leader, who is frequently overseas for medical treatment, waited days before addressing Nigerians on the protest, before finally urging citizens to spurn the protestors’ efforts.

It wasn’t all serious politics, however. Nigerians also took to Google to find out who the winner of BBN 2020 was, as well as to ask practical questions around tracking stolen cellphones and to find out who Anonymous is.

Search trends information is gleaned from data collated by Google based on what Nigerians have been searching for and asking Google. Google processes more than 40 000 search queries every second. This translates to more than a billion searches per day and 1.2 trillion searches per year, worldwide. Live search data is available on the Google Nigeria Trends site.