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ENDSARS PROTEST: A CALL FOR THE ERADICATION OF CORRUPTION IN NIGERIA

PROJECT BODY:

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY

In Nigeria as in most of the developing world, citizens are often confronted with myriad threats and challenges on their well-being and survival. These include poverty, high rates of unemployment, violence, brutality, deprivation of resources, lack of opportunity, marginalization and the denial and suppression of basic rights and freedom. While military dictatorships of the past are today replaced by democratic institutions, marginalized voices were still suppressed; a viable system for these voices to express their grievances is often nonexistent or ineffective. The so-called dividends of democracy have not been realized by those who needed it the most. Under these conditions a protest has become an indispensable alternative for people to voice their opinions, grievances and demand in strong terms, for change in their destiny (Shigetomi, 2009).

Since Nigeria became an independent nation from its former colonial masters Britain in 1960, it has witnessed a series of protest mainly in the forms of general strikes, boycotts and mass demonstration organized and led by labour unions, youth movements and social activist to press home a variety of demands and grievances. The issues that dominate these protests include demands for better wages, better living conditions, end to rampant poverty,insecurity, bad governance, brutality, corruption and freedom from repressive military dictatorship.

Corruption is a symptom of numerous difficulties within contemporary societies. It usually involves more than one party. It takes a form of an organized crime. According to the perception index of Transparency International, Nigeria was ranked 144th out of the 146 countries, beating Bangladesh and Haiti to last position. An analysis of the anti graft/anti-corruption laws in Nigeria shows that corruption will continue in spite of the laws because the perpetrators do not fear any consequences. Corruption is found in the award of contracts, promotion of staff, dispensation of justice misuse of public offices,embezzlement of public funds, brutality of uniformed men on the citizens, insecurity and bad governance.A protest is practically is a demonstration by the public to portray their expression of objection or disapproval towards an idea or action in a polity. This demonstration can take different forms but the apex of it is taking to the street by the populace to publicly express their grievances to the government.

The EndSARS campaign movement dates back to 2017, where Nigerian youths used the hashtag to share their experiences on violence and assault perpetrated by the defunct Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS). However, the movement only revived in early October, 2020 after a video emerged of police officers thought to be members of the SARS unit, allegedly killing an unarmed young man. This prompted Nigerian youths to troop to Twitter, calling on the Federal Government for police reform with the hashtag, #EndSARS, #Endpolicebrutality, and many more. The hashtag trended continuously on Twitter as Nigerian youths aired their pain and experiences online.

A viral message broadcast on social media suggested men of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad SARS had gunned down a Nigerian youth, snatched his car, and sped off with it. As the video spread on Social media, the hashtag #ENDSARS started to garner momentum as more young people demanded an end to the brutal police unit that has for years brutalized young Nigerians. However the bottom line of this movement is geared towards ending the brutality of uniformed men on the unarmed citizen which is an indicator of corruption.

1.2 STATEMENT OF PROBLEM

Nigeria’s poor socio-economic performance, human rights abuses, widespread poverty, insecurity, corruption and lack of trust in the political system have led to disenchantment among the electorate, especially the youth who make up 51% of the population. This matters in a fast-growing population of over 200 million, with more than 60% of people under 25 (NPC 2006).The human cost of bad governance is evident in the low level of basic infrastructure, weak healthcare and educational system, high unemployment and the number of out-of-school children, amongst others. Across the socio-economic class divide, there is a feeling that the effects of bad governance will catch up with everyone someday. However in a wake up call the recent protests by young Nigerians against police brutality, the EndSARS protests, exposed the gross human rights abuses suffered by many Nigerians at the hands of the institution created to protect them. More than about the police itself, the protests demonstrated the youth’s discontentment with governance throughout the country. Nigerians are now demanding that the government tackles the root causes of poverty, insecurity, human rights abuses and socio-economic instability through the levels of good governance. #EndSARS brought young Nigerians from different religious and ethnic backgrounds together. Most protesters were united against police brutality despite their differences and this is largely why the protest gained momentum nationally. Against this backdrop of incessant police brutality and abuse on human rights, that this study seek to reveal the implication of ENDSARS protest: a call for eradication of corruption in Nigeria.


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