21 October 2020   Leave a comment

Nigeria has been experiencing protests against the government. The protests have been going on since the beginning of October and are directed toward issues of police brutality and misconduct. National Public Radio gives this account:

“Young protesters first took the streets almost two weeks ago after a video showing a brutal police shooting went viral. They demanded the abolition of a notorious and corrupt anti-robbery police squad known as SARS, and days into the protest, Buhari ordered the unit disbanded. But protesters, who had heard similar promises before, said they wanted prosecutions and an end to corruption.

“So, the protests instead grew into the largest Nigeria has seen since the 1980s, when people took the streets to denounce military rule. On some recent days, Lagos, a metropolis of 14 million people, came to standstill.”

There are, however, deeper issues behind the protests. The Guardian outlines some of those concerns:

“‘We’ve entered a really new chapter. We are seeing a rapid unravelling of the average Nigerian’s respect for the state and government. The protests are about police brutality but that’s just the tip of the iceberg,’ said Matthew Page, an expert on Nigeria at the London-based thinktank Chatham House.

“The causes for discontent are diverse: a stagnating authority, soaring unemployment, inadequate infrastructure, deep inequality – and a widespread sense that nothing is likely to change. One slogan seen at the protests has been: ‘Stop killing the leaders of tomorrow’.

Nigeria has some of Africa’s biggest and most globalised cities, and a population with a median age of 18. As elsewhere on the continent, protesters have been drawn predominantly from a young, urban demographic, with popular icons from the worlds of music and film playing high-profile roles.”

The protests have been met with force and there are reports that many protesters have been killed. Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari is viewed with suspicion by many Nigerians in the south of the country and it is not likely that he will be able to address many of the concerns raised by the protests. But Nigeria is one of the most important countries in the world and it would be a serious mistake for the world to ignore these protests.

Posted October 21, 2020 by vferraro1971 in World Politics

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