The CANs Foundation, also known as the centre for Civic citizens’ Welfare and Community Development Africa (CWCDA), has launched an app to assist Nigerians in emergency situations in the country.
Co-Founder and Executive Director, Olajide Abiose, said at the launch of the app in Abuja, that the app, known as ‘Backup’, was developed with the support of the Open Society of West Africa (OSIWA).
According to Abiose, the Backup app, a new law enforcement anti-brutality digital intervention platform, would create an effective system for intervention and data collection in cases of brutality against citizens by law enforcement agencies.
He added that it would likewise improve the number of case management and prevention issues in law enforcement brutality while supporting law enforcement agencies to identify officers tarnishing their image.
“CANs foundation is a nonprofit organisation set up to use emerging technologies to solve social and development problems in Africa.
“Backup was created as our intervention to the unending crisis of law enforcement brutality in Nigeria
“We launched the app to give young Nigerians hope towards getting justice and support when they face any emergency situation.
“The app works by helping you to trigger an emergency and share your live location and information, particularly video and audio sound in real-time, to both your emergency contacts, family, friends and other stakeholders who can provide intervention for you.’’
Abiose said that although the app was designed to focus on anti-brutality, it could be used for other creative purposes.
“People can apply it to different scenarios, so I will not be surprised if people apply it for robbery, kidnapping because what it does is to allow people to know what you are experiencing at a point in time.
“It then gives them your location, in order for them to come and provide intervention,’’ he said.
He said that Backup could also help law enforcement agencies do their job better, adding that the foundation’s goal was to work with them to help identify the flashpoints where these incidents occurred.
Abiose added that it would also provide them real-time data on what is happening in different parts of the country with respect to how the citizens were faring in the hands of their officers.
Already, the foundation had begun taking steps to work with the police complaints units and other agencies with set up designed for this kind of purpose, he said.
Mr Anthony Eromosele, CANs Programme Lead, said that the Backup app was launched as a result of complaints from youths and as a technology-driven NGO, it deemed it fit to provide an innovative solution to address the complaints.
“Youths were complaining about various human rights violations, they go out but they don’t go back home yet you don’t even know their whereabouts.
“So, we felt the need to develop this app, where youths can actually report these violations they so often complain about and by whoever is perpetuating it .’’
Eromosele said that with the Backup app, people could keep track of the whereabouts of their loved ones who used the app to report the emergency situation they were in or which police station they were taken to if arrested.
He said that the app was available on different app stores like Google play store, IOS, among others, and that for low-income earners that could not afford smartphones, a USSD code would be provided to prompt automatic record and report of violent situations.
Ms Latifah Adesanyan, Product Associate, CANs Foundation, said that using the app was simply because “we feel the app developed should be a straightforward process .’’
Adesanya said that this was because the foundation understood that when people were in emergency cases, they needed to be able to report as soon as possible.
“So in order to report a case on Backup, all you need to do is tap the red button which says a report for self, so once you do that, automatically the system records happenings of the event with your camera.
“During the signup process, you need to add an emergency contact, that’s those people who could be notified.’’
She, therefore, advised Nigerians to be their brother’s keeper to either report cases for themselves or report for others “this is something we thought of so that Nigerians can assist each other,’’ she said.
By Angela Atabo/Bridget Ikyado