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#EndSARS Youth Protests in Nigeria: Lessons and Opportunities for Regional Stability

#EndSARS SVNP Publication Cover
#EndSARS SVNP Publication Cover

In response to the #EndSARS youth protests against brutality by the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) of the Nigeria Police Force, the Federal Government announced the disbandment of SARS and introduced some reforms in the security agencies. Nevertheless, the violent protests snowballed into demands for systemic reforms, particularly to address the socioeconomic challenges facing Nigeria's youth. Inasmuch as SARS brutality was a proximate trigger of the nationwide protests, a constellation of growing poverty, unemployment, and shrinking space for inclusive participation of youth in government policymaking was its essential context. The increasing discontent evident amongst Nigeria's youth during the #EndSARS protests reflects a simmering trend in other West African states, which has implications for regional security. The paper concludes by arguing that opportunities for centering and addressing youth grievances across the sub-region, to assuage potential threats to regional stability, should be seized upon by all stakeholders.

The Southern Voices Network for Peacebuilding (SVNP) is a continent-wide network of African policy, research, and academic organizations that works with the Wilson Center’s Africa Program to bring African knowledge and perspectives to U.S., African, and international policy on peacebuilding in Africa. Established in 2011 and supported by the generous financial support of the Carnegie Corporation of New York, the project provides avenues for African researchers and practitioners to engage with, inform, and exchange analyses and perspectives with U.S., African, and international policymakers in order to develop the most appropriate, cohesive, and inclusive policy frameworks and approaches to achieving sustainable peace in Africa. This publication was made possible by a grant from the Carnegie Corporation of New York. The statements made and views expressed in this paper are solely the responsibility of the author and do not represent the views of the Wilson Center or the Carnegie Corporation of New York.

To mark the SVNP’s 10th anniversary and as part of its mission to strengthen collaboration among members and share African knowledge about peacebuilding and state-building,  the SVNP established a competition for co-authored research papers analyzing key existing or emerging issues in peacebuilding in Africa, highlighting issues and lessons learned, and offering concrete actions that African and international policymakers can take to advance peacebuilding on the continent.  

This, and the paper entitled "Lessons from Street Protests as a Peacemaking Process" by Dr. Arsene Brice Bado and Mr. Philippe Gueu, were declared co-winners of the 2021 SVNP Joint Research Award.

Africa Program

The Africa Program works to address the most critical issues facing Africa and US-Africa relations, build mutually beneficial US-Africa relations, and enhance knowledge and understanding about Africa in the United States. The Program achieves its mission through in-depth research and analyses, public discussion, working groups, and briefings that bring together policymakers, practitioners, and subject matter experts to analyze and offer practical options for tackling key challenges in Africa and in US-Africa relations.    Read more