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THE EFFECT OF END SARS PROTEST ON SMALL AND MEDIUM ENTERPRISES (SMEs) IN LAGOS STATE

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY

A protest is essentially a public demonstration in which members of the public express their opposition or displeasure of a polity’s idea or behavior. This protest can take many forms, but at its pinnacle, the people go to the streets to publicly vent their dissatisfaction with the government.

The EndSARS campaign began in 2017, when Nigerian youths used the hashtag to express their stories of the former Special Anti-Robbery Squad’s violence and assaults (SARS). The movement was only resurrected in early October 2020, after a video of police officers believed to be members of the SARS squad reportedly killing an unarmed young man surfaced. This spurred Nigerian youngsters to take to Twitter to demand that the Federal Government take action.

Men from the Special Anti-Robbery Squad SARS allegedly gunned down a Nigerian kid, seized his car, and fled with it, according to a viral message shared on social media. As word of the video spread on social media, the hashtag #ENDSARS gained traction, with more young people demanding an end to the ruthless police squad that has brutalized young Nigerians for years.

The Nigerian Police Force, through the Inspector General of Police, announced on the 4th of October, 2020, that SARS members and other Tactical Squads would be prohibited from performing routine patrols and other low-risk duties, such as stop and search, checkpoints, roadblocks, and traffic checks, with immediate effect. On the 7th of October 2020, youths in Lagos State embarked on a three-day protest to demand the disbandment of the Nigeria Police Force’s Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) section, as part of a drive for police reforms to eliminate the agency’s extrajudicial practices. Youths were spotted walking to the Force Headquarters in Ikeja, holding placards that said “Protect, not exploit,” “Nigeria police stop killing us,” and other printed slogans (nairametrics.com). This was the start of a 14-day demonstration that devolved into violence and was hijacked by hoodlums, resulting in the damage, vandalism, and theft of public and private property as well as SME’s around the country. Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) are non-affiliated, self-contained businesses with less than 500 employees. This figure differs per country. SMEs, according to the European Union (EU), are micro, small, and medium-sized businesses that employ fewer than 250 people and have annual revenues of less than 50 million euros. The Central Bank of Nigeria defined SMEs in its monetary policy circular No. 22 of 1988 as businesses with an annual turnover of less than five hundred thousand Naira (N500,000). The National Policy on Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) has made a clear distinction between enterprises based on employment and assets for the sake of clarity. Nigeria has made it one of its top priorities in recent decades to develop its industrial base through the formation, maintenance, and expansion of small and medium-sized businesses in order to achieve economic growth. This has been a priority for successive Nigerian administrations, notably throughout the current democratic era. On the other hand, the deterioration of infrastructural amenities, particularly power, as well as vandalism and theft, have had a detrimental impact on SMEs’ performance, growth, and development in Nigeria over the years.

STATEMENT OF PROBLEM

One of the things that happens when a group of people protests in any country is that people’s movements and businesses are disrupted. There are various motivators for people to protest, and one of the most important is a change to something nice and better than the ills to which they have been subjected. A protest is essentially a public demonstration in which members of the public express their opposition or displeasure of a polity’s idea or behavior. This protest can take many forms, but at its pinnacle, the people go to the streets to publicly vent their dissatisfaction with the government.

The abysmal treatment of Nigerian citizens by the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) and their brutality on youths sparked outrage among the youth, who demanded the disbandment of SARS, which has resulted in the killings and kidnappings of youths, as well as public harassment of youths by looking into their phones, checking the type of car they drive, the quality of clothes they wear, and accessing their e-mail accounts.

The youngsters’ dissatisfaction with SARS’ violence morphed into the EndSARS protests in Lagos State, which were a peaceful movement.

The Lagos State Government issued a 24-hour curfew in all sections of the state at exactly 11:49 a.m. on Tuesday, October 20, 2020, in order to prevent hoodlums from destroying property in the name of the EndSARS protest. During the EndSARS protests, small and medium businesses were looted and damaged. As a result, the victims of the stolen establishments have lost important resources and property. The protesters’ blockade of roads and the Lagos state government’s declaration of a curfew limited movement, contributing to a decrease in demand and supply in companies as well as high transit fares.

This study aims to look into the impact of the anti-SARS protest on the environment.

OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY

The goal of this study is to look into the causes of the EndSARS protest in Lagos State and see if the protest has had any detrimental effects on the state’s Small and Medium Enterprises.

RESEARCH QUESTIONS

This study is guided by the following questions:

What are the reasons for the EndSARS protests in Lagos?

 

What are the negative consequences of the anti-SARS rally in Lagos?

SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY

This research will help the general public, company owners, and government understand the threat that the EndSARS protest has posed on SME’s and the economy. It will also attract to the attention of the government and policymakers the need to listen to the demonstrators’ pleas and correct the country’s problems. Researchers and students who want to do more research on this or a related topic can use this study as a starting point.

RESEARCH HYPOTHESIS

For this study, the following hypothesis was developed:

H0: The anti-SARS protest has no detrimental impact on small and medium businesses.

HA: The anti-SARS protest is having a negative impact on small and medium-sized businesses.

SCOPE OF THE STUDY

This research focuses on the impact of the EndSARS protest on small and medium businesses in Lagos. The origins of the EndSARS protest, as well as its detrimental consequences on Lagos State’s Small and Medium Enterprises, will be investigated. The scope of this study is limited to a small number of SMEs in Lagos State.

LIMITATION OF THE STUDY

The significant restrictions the researcher faced during the course of this study were time, funding, and availability of materials on this research subject, as well as confirming respondents’ responses to interviews and questionnaires.

DEFINITION OF TERMS

Protest is a word or action that expresses dissatisfaction or opposition to something.

SARS stands for Special Anti-Robbery Squad, a Nigerian police organization tasked with combating robbery, motor vehicle theft, kidnapping, livestock rustling, and firearms offenses.

EndSARS is a social movement and a series of major rallies in Nigeria that calls for the disbanding of the SARS and an end to police abuse.

Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) are businesses with revenues, assets, or employees below a particular threshold.

An effect is a change that occurs as a result of an activity or other cause.

Disturbance or problems that cause an event, activity, or process to be disrupted.

Destruction is defined as the act or process of causing extensive damage to anything.

Looting: Taking items from a location, usually during a battle or riot.

Vandalism is the intentional destruction or damage of public or private property.

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