2020 will be remembered as the year of #EndSARS, the series of explosive, youth-led protests against police brutality and impunity that caught the Nigerian government by surprise and eventually forced it to make some concessions to the protesters.
Starting in the first week of October and continuing for the next several weeks, the protests erupted at the close of a difficult year in which an erratically implemented lockdown imposed to curtail the spread of the coronavirus had led to widespread frustration.
While vexation at official mishandling of the COVID-19 pandemic most certainly contributed to the outbreak of the protests, it is clear to any observer of the Nigerian political scene that #EndSARS was several years, if not decades, in the making.
So far as the protests were triggered by causes buried deep in the substratum of state-society relations in the country, they also revealed changes and emergent patterns in the ambiance of protests, the configuration of civil society, and the mobilization of state power.
Accordingly, the four papers in this issue address the themes of youth participation in the protests, the use, power, and increasing importance of social media, and the ticklish question of the utility of violence.
The edition also includes a review of a poetry collection in which leading Nigerian poets attempt to take a measure of the protests and matters arising from them.
Editor December 2021