Two different worlds met during the #EndSARS protests. After the massacre at the Lekki Toll Gate descended into destruction and looting, it revealed the two sides (some say three) of Nigeria’s most valuable asset, its youth.
Who are these young Nigerians? Where do their worlds converge and diverge? Answers to these questions are important. They will guide government’s response in the form of policies that incentivise the private sector to create jobs and get the country out of its current economic depression. Something must be done now to avert a bigger crisis. Insecurity is growing.
One group of youths, educated and tech savvy, used social media to organise peaceful protests across the country and draw attention to police brutality. Another group were used as tools to disrupt the protests while a third group went on rampage looting businesses and killing police officers and burning public buildings. Their raid of warehouses filled with COVID-19 relief materials suggested they too were coordinated.
One immediate conclusion after the #EndSARS protests is that it brought together varied groups of youth who have been living apart. All of them, call them protesters or hoodlums or criminals, are all victims of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) known for its use of force, extortion and extra-judicial killings. Each set responded the way it knew how to.
But they are also united by the lack of jobs and poverty. Four out of 10 Nigerians live on less than $1/day. Most poor households are those whose head is male, uneducated and a farmer (see infographics). The income and education of parents is an indicator of children's outcome. You can read the full article here.