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.

Statement of the Problem

After years of horror stories of brazen extortion, illegal detentions and gruesome murders at the hands of local police, young Nigerians are out on the streets to demand the government scrap the police’s notorious Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) unit. Vabguard (2020)

For the past two days, young Nigerians have protested in front of the Lagos state house of assembly—at day and at night. It’s an in-person manifestation of a long-running anti-SARS campaigns on social media platforms. Now the protests are rapidly spreading to several other states, and Abuja, Nigeria’s federal capital.Punch(2020)

The ongoing street protests have been triggered by the latest reports of murders of innocent civilians committed by SARS officers, who have long operated with impunity.

While SARS was initially set up in 1992 to combat the rise of armed robbery incidents, it has since garnered a reputation for arbitrary arrests, torture, extortion and extra-judicial killings. Given its designation as a special unit with its officers often working in plain clothes and using unmarked cars, SARS officers have become known for crudely extorting innocent young Nigerians and operating outside the remits of law.

SARS officers typically target and detain young men by accusing them of being online fraudsters, simply on the evidence of owning a laptop or smartphone, and then request arbitrary and exorbitant bail fees before they regain their freedom. In more extreme cases, SARS officers abduct civilian targets and force them to make withdrawals at an ATM in exchange for their freedom, sometimes at gunpoint. The unit is also known to target young women as well with several reports of women being raped while in detention. Sahareporters(2020)

Without obvious avenues to seek redress, most victims are forced to pay these bribes, particularly given SARS’ fearsome reputation of violence and extra-judicial killings. In 2016, an Amnesty International report found “credible allegations” that SARS operatives “perpetrate acts of torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment against detainees in their custody on a regular basis.” In a rare instance in September 2017, five SARS operatives were convicted of the extrajudicial killing two young men.Dailytrust (2019)

But it’s not just the fear of violence and possible death, SARS operatives are also known to threaten victims with illegal detention. It’s a feature of Nigeria’s broken criminal justice system which sees 72.5% of inmates in local prisons serving time without being sentenced.

Objectives of the Study

The main objectives of this study is to investigate the socio economic effect of End-Sars protest in Nigeria Economy.

The study sought the following research questions;

  1. Examine the level of Real economic value during the Endsars protest
  2. Investigate the extend of Extra-Judicial Killings in Lagos and the Lekki Massacre
  3. To analyze the negative effect of ENDARS protest on the SMEs business environment
  4. To investigate the level of Losses and damages that occurred  In Lagos State during the Endsars protest
  5. To understand the Effect of ENDSARS protest on the  GDP of Lagos
  6. To examine the Lessons learnt from ENDSARS by Small and medium scale enterprises in Lagos

Research Questions

  1. What are the level of Real economic value during the Endsars protest?
  2. What are level of Extra-Judicial Killings in Lagos and other state especially The Lekki Massacre?
  3. What are The negative effect of ENDARS on the business environment in Lagos state?
  4. What are the level of Losses and damages that occurred  In Lagos State during the Endsars protes?
  5. What are the Effect of ENDSARS protest on the GDP of Lagos ?
  6. What are the Lessons learnt from ENDSARS by Small and medium scale enterprises in Lagos?

Scope of the Study

This study will empirically investigate the socio economic implication of endsars protest in Nigeria polity. The study is limited to Lagos state Nigeria

Significance of the Study

The outcome of this study would contribute to the existing body of knowledge. Because there is no single study on The socio economic implication of Endsars protest in Nigeria polity  around the globe, there is dearth of evidence using data on Lagos state,Nigeria. The outcome of the study would therefore serve as a reference material for subsequent researchers and would provide a basis for further research in this area. 

Limitations of the Study

Financial Constraints: The researcher was with limited funds, she cannot visit all the areas to get responses from respondents but she was able to get good information concerning the research topic.

Time Constraints: The researcher was involved in other departmental activities like seminars, attendance of lectures et.c which limited her time for the research but the researcher was able to meet up with the time assigned for the completion of the research work


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