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Youth’s Perceptions On Police Brutality, Injustice And Endsars Protest Among Nigerians. A Study Of Youths In Selected Local Government Areas In Oyo State

 

Abstract

Societies mostly see youths as the root of all evils. Youths are painted as being the centre of violence, be it political, ethnic, religious, gang and the list goes on. Any society that fails to protect or provide the right and interest of its youths may never be a safe and prosperous one. Every society will be secured if it had ideals and system to ensure justice. Not abandoning the youths to the fringes and mercies of poverty, inequality, lack of quality education, and unemployment. Failure to invest, promote and protect the youths may result in radicalization, escalation of violent acts and extremism. This study examines the youth’s perception of police brutality, injustice and the EndSARS protest. Whether or not the protest complied with due process and the challenges confronting the Nigerian youths are discussed. The paper is a content analysis and it revealed that the EndSARS protest is not only for the brutality, disbandment of SARS but reforming the entire Nigerian Police Force and other lukewarm attitudes of government against Nigerian youths. The paper reveals that short-sighted policymaking fails to properly integrate the youth’s needs. Youths are not involved in political and economic structures, this influences Nigerian youths to indulge in a series of agitations and violent acts of political thuggery, armed robbery, ethno-religious crises, kidnapping etc. It is recommended that reforming the Nigerian Police Force may fetch out the bad eggs. The institution may regain its confidence from the public and Nigerians youths. It concluded that public confidence should be resuscitated towards the NPF.

 

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

  • Background of study

Nigeria is one of the African countries with huge population size, high population density, and great social diversity. The number of youths in Nigeria is higher than the population of some African countries. Over the years, youths have enormously contributed towards the development of Nigeria through various facets such as democracy, governance, politics, economy, security, and community development (Yusuf, 2019). Also, youths have been deeply involved in self-help projects in Nigeria. As a progressive force for development, youths’ social and psychological disposition and level of productivity are feasible when provided with the knowledge and opportunities they need to prosper. This depends on the societal willingness to empower the youths in social, economic, political and legal terms as some of the youths’ challenges. Omoju and Abraham, (2014) further identified youth challenges in Nigerian from the problem of youth’s unemployment and underemployment, limited access to education and lack of economic opportunities, lack of access to basic education, high HIV prevalence rate to high poverty rate among others. To promote youth leadership and more inclusive politics, more than 100 Youth organizations known by its hashtag #Not-Too-Young-To-Run in Nigeria mobilized for a constitutional reform to lower the eligibility age to run for political office in 2016. It is aimed to reduce the age limit to stand as political candidates to promote good governance and youth political participation (Krook and Nugent, 2018). The youth movement in Nigeria started long ago but the organized one was created in 1934 with titled Nigerian Youth Movement (NYM) and it was based in Lagos. Its primary objectives were the development of a united Nigeria out of the conglomeration of people who inhabited Nigeria, and the promotion of complete understanding along with a sense of common nationalism among different elements in the country. Politically however it sought to increase the native Nigerian participation in civil service and government with the ultimate goal of self-government. Furthermore, the movement established branches in urban areas throughout the country in an attempt to promote inter-tribal cooperation (Gann, 2011).

Youth movements could be positive or negative, but as far as the government concerns, any kind of youth movement either positive or negative would affect the government of the day’s interest. Because it reminds the government that some policies were not properly implemented or executed, asking to change the entire policy like EndSARS youth movement. EndSARS protesters are a group of Nigerian youths under the umbrella of the New Nigerian Youth Movement (NNYM) that demand the disbandment of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) unit, as well as, other reforms in the Nigerian Police Force (NPF). At the beginning of the EndSARS, their demands were very clear and straightforward urging the government to abolish SARS, offer justice to victims of police brutality and reform the police. The genesis of the protest was a video clip of police officers thought to be members of the SARS unit, allegedly killing an unarmed young man (Ukpe, 2020). What started as a peaceful demonstration by thousands of youths in some of the states in Nigeria, degenerated into chaos after the protests were hijacked by hoodlums. Unpatriotic set of youths took over the protest to achieve self-centred interest contrary to law and changed the narrative of the movement. Citizens’ rights were interfered with, loss of lives, property worth billions of naira were stolen and destroyed among others. Other reasons for EndSARS protest are the political and economic structures in Nigeria which did not properly integrate youths’ needs. This is what led Kamorudeen stated that:

“the manipulation of the political and economic structure by political elites have endangered high rate of youth unemployment and underemployment, poverty, poor access to quality education, and poor access to political opportunities, thereby influencing Nigerian youths to indulge in series of agitations and violent act reflected in political thuggery, armed robbery, ethno-religious crises, kidnapping etc.” (Kamarudeen, 2011; 171)

 

Consequently, the occurrence of youth’s violence in present Nigeria is on the proliferation and it has generated public worries as the violence is seen as anti-thesis to individual’s and national development. Nigeria has become a violence-prone nation with the youths at the centre of most of it. No part of Nigeria is immune from one form of violence or the other, ranging from Boko Haram insurgency, herdsmen-farmer’s crisis, ethno-religious crises, kidnapping, armed robbery, terrorism, and EndSARS protest among others. Against this background, this paper, therefore examines the youth’s movement, EndSARS protest in particular and challenges confronting youth in the country. Consequently, the paper is divided into seven sections. Section one provides an introduction while section two deals with the conceptual framework. Section three deals with the empirical review, while section four examines youths and Nigerian police on EndSARS protest. This explains the deteriorated relationship between Nigerian youths and NPF. Section five explains the challenges confronting Nigerian youths while section six offers recommendations and section seven provided for the conclusion.

 

  • Statement of problem

Police brutality has become a polarizing topic; in the Nigeria, the debate has been ongoing. Critics argue that police brutality leads to abuse of authority and a subtle shift towards a ―police state. The debate surrounding the topic of police brutality has primarily focused on the issue of use of violence and excessive force. Selective use of violent crime statistics by both supporters and critics of police brutality have added to the confusion surrounding the issue. It has been debated that military equipment obtained under the guise of violence has promoted the adoption of military tactics which endanger civil liberties.

Critics argue that the most significant effect of brutality has been on police culture. They claim that brutality has promoted an overly aggressive form of policing that embraces force as the primary means to solve social problems, encourages the use of unnecessary and excessive force, and teaches officers to treat citizens as enemies.

 

On the other hand, proponents believe that some degree of police brutality is necessary for law enforcement to combat emerging threats from terrorism, homegrown violent extremism, and attacks by heavily armed violent criminals. This argument proposes that police have been forced to use military-style weapons and protective equipment to keep pace with an ever-changing adversary.

The potential ramifications of the police brutality debate are substantial. At one end of the spectrum, policies addressing brutality could render the police ineffective at protecting the public or themselves from numerous emerging threats. At the other end of the spectrum, unfettered militarized police activity could severely erode civil liberties and result in a significant loss of public support.

The effectiveness of the police is largely dependent upon public support and that support is contingent upon the public‘s view that the police are exercising their authority in a legitimate manner. It‘s thus important to give critical and constant scrutiny to these structures as police are given extraordinary amount of discretional authority. The issue of police brutality must be properly analyzed to ensure law enforcement retains its legitimacy while maintaining public support. This study will focus on the perception of youths towards police brutality, injustice and the endsars protest in Nigeria.

 

  • Objectives of study

The overall objective study is to assess the perception of youths on police brutality, injustice and the endsars protest in Oyo sate, Nigeria.

Other Objectives

  1. To determine the level of police brutality in Oyo state.
  2. To determine the causes of injustice among Nigerian police officers in Oyo state.
  3. To determine the effect of the endsars protest on police brutality.

 

  • Research Questions
  1. What is the level of police brutality in Oyo state?
  2. What are the causes of injustice among Nigerian police officers in Oyo state?
  3. What are the effect of the endsars protest on police brutality?

 

  • Hypothesis of study

H01: There is no significant difference in the perceptions of the youths in Oyo state on police brutality and injustice.

 

H02: There is no significant effect of the endsars protest on police brutality.

 

1.6 Significance of study

The Nigerian police force is the primary provider of security in Nigeria, the force is saddled with the responsibility of protecting human lives and properties, however, over the years, the police system has been seen to deviate from its core responsibilities and duties. This research work will provide a documentation of the actions of the police force leading to police brutality, injustice and the endsars protest.

This will provide information to policy makers to make changes in the police system in order to arrest the current injustice and brutality meted by the police force to citizens.

This research will serve academic purposes on the subject of police brutality and add context to the argument around the endsars protest.

 

1.7 Scope of The Study

The study will cover on police brutality, police injustice and the endsars protest in Oyo state in 2020.

The research will be limited to the Youths of Oyo state.

 

1.8 Limitation of The Study

Financial constraint– Insufficient fund tends to impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature or information and in the process of data collection (internet, questionnaire and interview).

Time constraint– The researcher will simultaneously engage in this study with other academic work. This consequently will cut down on the time devoted for the research work.

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