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Civil Unrest and Protests in the year since #EndSARS

There have been over 776 recorded cases of civil unrest across Nigeria since the end of the #EndSARS protests in October 2020. The slight uptick in recorded cases from 2019 poses a significant threat to regular business operations and industrial activities to boost economic growth in the post-Covid-19 era. There

were 679 recorded cases of civil unrest in 2019 and a 14.4% increase in case counts.

Economic Unrest

According to the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry, an estimated N700bn in economic value was lost during the two-week-long #EndSARS protest, which delayed or halted public and private services. In addition, data from Area! by Towntalk shows that 97 protests occurred along major commercial travel routes across the country, with civil action groups gaining inspiration from the activities of the #EndSARS protesters. These roadblocks, in addition to rising insecurity & kidnapping, attacks on farmers and farmland, and other supply chain constraints, have significantly contributed to Nigeria’s 22.8% food inflation.

High violence rates threaten legitimate causes.

A wave of institutional changes in the Nigerian Police Force following the protests in October 2020 has spurred civil unrest and disruptions from other special interests. Ethnic separatists in the South West and South East, Trade unions representing farmers, teachers, and transport workers in northern states, and issue-based groups seeking safer communities and lasting dispute resolution have increasingly adopted civil disobedience to achieve their objectives. Despite some of these noble causes, civil unrest data analysed using Pulse by Towntalk – a security risk management tool – shows that 44% of protests in the year since the #EndSARS protest have turned violent and claimed at least 423 lives.

Spotlight North West: Protesting with the government

Citizens in North West, Nigeria, shave protested in support of government policies to stem insecurity despite objections from the business community and human rights groups. In a bid to limit communication of terrorist and criminal groups who have been attacking educational institutions, government officials, and smallholder farmers, the state governments in Zamfara, Katsina, Sokoto, and Kaduna had shut down cellular and internet connections in some parts of these states. Telecommunication companies, human rights groups companies operating in these states, have objected to the decision. However, citizens of these states have organised 33 protest demonstrations against the growing insecurity, while a few others have praised the government’s decision as “necessary”.

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