Home Opinions Editorials Never Forget the bloody and Business-hurting #EndSARS Protests
Editorials - Opinions - October 28, 2020

Never Forget the bloody and Business-hurting #EndSARS Protests

October has been described by many Nigerians as the worst month in 2020. They are not wrong. Agreed, April and May were equally just as bad, due mainly to the adverse effects of COVID-19 uncertainties and the economic hardship/recession unleashed by the lockdown. But none of these can compare to the worst month ever – when Nigeria was rocked by what is arguably its most violent protest in recent years. Not only were some lives lost, the economy took a major hit.

A quick Recap of the #EndSARS Protests

Yesterday (Tuesday 28, 2020) marked one week since #BlackTuesday when the #EndSARS protests in Nigeria quickly escalated and then ended violently.  As you may well know, the #EndSARS protests started earlier this month in Nigeria and then quickly spread across the country. These protests were initially peaceful, until they were reportedly hijacked by “Government-sponsored thugs” who unleashed mayhem, causing the destruction and deaths of some Nigerians.

Meanwhile, some tangible demands were made by the protesters, including the urgent need to scrap the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), the notoriously corrupt police unit accused committing all sorts of crimes against Nigerians. The government had accepted these initial demands. But the protesters did not back down until the events of October 20th which saw some protesters shot dead at the Lekki Toll Gate.

The shooting garnered wide-spread condemnation from far and near. And even though the Federal Government took its time, President Buhari did finally address the nation on the events leading up to #BlackTuesday. His speech was, however, criticized for various reasons.

In the meantime, there are a lot of unanswered questions. The Nigerian military has denied any involvement in the shooting, even though conflicting reports suggest that men in military uniform were the ones who did the shooting. For now, Nigerians await a conclusive report on this issue. Unfortunately, there may never be a conclusive report.

The aftermath and the Economic Impacts

Following the shooting, Lagos degenerated into a deep state of chaos as hoodlums went on rampage looting and vandalizing businesses across the state. Companies such as Shoprite, SPAR Nigeria, Rhapsody Restaurant & Bar, Primero Transport Services Ltd, Bata Shoes, some banks, and a whole lot of other small businesses were seriously affected. It was, without a doubt, a very unfortunate week for the Nigerian economy.


The Implications

After last week’s upheaval, Nigerians who either lost loved ones, got their lives maimed, or lost their businesses are still counting their losses. Their lives will never be the same again. Agreed, some analysts have projected that insurance companies will come in to rescue some of these businesses that have been affected by the protests. While this is a possibility, an insurance professional who spoke to Business Elites Africa, explained that “insurance companies aren’t conventionally liable to pay claims under situations such as a civil unrest, natural disasters, etc. However, there are extensions and concessions based on pre-agreed additional cover provided in an insurance policy. So, for companies that have these extensions and concessions, they will be fine. Anyone without such extra covers cannot claim at this point.”

Which way forward?

For now, investigations are still ongoing to unravel what really happened on Tuesday night, even as tribunals have been set up across states as place as part of measures to address some of the issues raised by the #EndSARS protesters. Some companies such as Coca Cola Nigeria have also announced their willingness to take care of the medical bills of those who were injured during the shooting. And then Access Bank Plc announced that it will give out a N50 billion interest-free loans to small businesses that were affected by the lootings. All these measures may never really resolve the negative impacts of the #EndSARS protests. Yet, Nigerians are optimistic that things will get back to normal soon. But will it?


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