Hope for Nigeria: The voices of the young

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Isidore-Splendour Chukwu, SJ

 Isidore-Splendour Chukwu, SJ / Politics / 19 February 2021


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The #EndSARS protest was a worldwide trending hashtag on Twitter, Facebook and other social media at the end of 2020. The acronym SARS in this instance stands for Special Anti-Robbery Squad a unit of the Nigerian Police Force. The hashtag was championed by Nigerian youth who are standing up to them, accusing them of extrajudicial killings, illegal arrests, detention and other serious violations of human rights and freedoms.

The protesting youth took over space not just of international social media, but also on the streets of Nigerian cities, thereby kindling the fire of patriotism among the diaspora: in London, Johannesburg, Monrovia, Dublin, New York, Paris, California and elsewhere. The protest “is an outflow of pent-up anger”[1] and they have delineated five points and demand a response to them from the Federal Government of Nigeria. The protesters complain bitterly against corruption: their protest is against the grinding poverty and low quality of living of the majority.[2] So, everyone anticipates a “renewed hope” for a new and better Nigeria.

This West African country, known as the “Giant of Africa,” needs to rediscover its true greatness. The leaders must endeavor to accommodate the interests of every Nigerian, so that “Nigerians can rise above primordial sentiments of ethnicity, religiosity and clannish bigotry; eschew mediocrity, nepotism and impunity whilst embracing and promoting meritocracy, accountability, transparency and efficiency in managing their resources.”[3] The #EndSARS campaign is undeniably an “expression of youth power” which will go a long way toward correcting widespread misconceptions.[4] The youth of Nigeria are known to be industrious, committed and hardworking. Their current unequivocal determination to chart a positive change in Nigeria manifests their true character.

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