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THE SOCIO ECONOMIC IMPLICATION OF ENDSARS PROTEST IN NIGERIA POLITY

SOCIOLOGY PROJECT TOPICS AND MATERIALS

THE SOCIO ECONOMIC IMPLICATION OF ENDSARS PROTEST IN NIGERIA POLITY

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

Background to the study

The Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) was created in Lagos State in 1992, a time when Notorious armed robbers such as Shina Rambo were in control of the state (Midenda, 2017). 

It was created as a faceless police unit that performs undercover  operations  against  armed  robbers.  Within almost  two  decades  of  its  creation,  the  unit  has  spread  across the various states of the country. The spread of the unit across the nation without a proper structure, accounts for some of it lawless charcteristics.

The current report of police brutality using the #Endsars on Twitter has brought public attention to it. The online campaign about the police brutality is new, however, Nigerian pop stars has over the years expressed their worries, fears and incidents of police brutality. 

The  Nigerian  movie  industry,  Nollywood  has  also portrayed cases of brutality and corruption within the Nigerian police force in their productions.Nigerians   having   been   subjected   to   wanton   arrests,   extortion  and  extra  judiciary  killings,  lunched  a  social  media  campaign  using  the  hastag  #Endsars  on  Twitter  to put an end to police brutality.

The #Endsars campaign started  with  the  publication  of  a  petition  by  convener  Segun  Awosanya.  It  was  signed  by  10,195  Nigerians and submitted to the Nigerian National Assembly to scrap the  police  unit.    The  Twitter  campaign  started  on  the  2nd of  December  2017,  when  a  footage  of  police  officers attached to the unit shot and killed a man surfaced online. The  campaign  became  a  trending  topic  on  Twitter  with  over  400,000  Tweets8  within  twelve  hours.  

In October 2020, Nigerians turned the online campaign to protest. Nigerians  using 280 characters detailing their horrible and harrowing experiences  with  SARS,  the  dreaded  unit  of  the  police  created to fight banditry. Before the campaign, there have been isolated cases of police brutality all over the country. However,  it  was  during  the  campaign  that  the  damage  caused  by  such  brutality  was  discovered. 

The  campaign  also exposed the level of rot within the police unit according to  the  convener  of  the  campaign.  The  campaign  further  revealed that the police has no recognizable structure with no organized system of operation, officers of the unit act based on self-will with little or no regards for fundamental human right for citizens especially vulnerable youth.

The sudden rise of protest movements during the recent economic crisis has brought to the fore once more the question of whether grievance theories may play a role in explaining collective action.

Scholars have started to re‐examine the impact of grievances on protest behaviour (e.g., Rüdig & Karyotis 2013; Bernburg, 2015). However, most studies only examine the effect of these factors on mobilisation from either an individual or a macro‐level perspective, but do not consider the interaction of individual and contextual level factors (Kern et al. (2015) is a recent exception, but here change in economic conditions is examined and the focus is not protest specifically). To address this gap in the literature, we examine the interplay of micro‐level grievances and macro‐level factors for protest behaviour. In particular, we argue that the extent of the effect of individual deprivation on protest is conditional upon the presence of contextual macroeconomic and policy factors which broaden out perceived political opportunities.

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