Sociology Project Topics

Assessing the Merits of Police Reformation in Improving National Security: A Case Study of the 2020 EndSARS Protest


Chapter One 

Background Of Study

More than fifty years ago, sociologists viewed protest as an undemocratic invasion of politics and power. After the 1970s, protest is now seen as an important strengthening of democratic political systems and an important factor in the transition from authoritarian to democratic regimes. The study of protest and social movements has grown from a marginalized and nearly dying subspecies of social psychology in the 1960s into a highly specialized field of sociology as such, with significant links to political, organizational, and cultural sociology as well as social psychology. Social movement theorists view protest as “politics by other means,” and it is now well known that non-institutional and institutional politics are interconnected and interrelated. Acts of protest are perhaps the most symbolic embodiment of the social production of this public space. Protest violates the physical integrity of space and establishes a series of social (and sometimes physical) relationships that indirectly (temporarily) change the rules of interaction.

Protest was defined as “an expression or expression of opposition, disagreement, or disagreement, often in contrast to what cannot or cannot be prevented or prevented.” (Dictionary of Random Houses, 1967). The protest law contains the following elements: the action expresses a grievance, a conviction of wrong or injustice; the protesters are unable to correct the condition directly by their own efforts; the action is intended to draw attention to the grievances; the action is further meant to provoke ameliorative steps by some target group; and the protesters depend upon some combination of sympathy and fear to move the target group in their behalf. According to Bailey (1962), the protest ranges from the more convincing to the more convincing combination, but always extends to both. Many forms of protest do not involve violence or destruction.

The results of sociological research have shown that there are specific reasons for protest. According to Ritter and Conrad (2016), people are more likely to protest if they are not afraid of revenge on the government. if they are connected to civil society networks that support the organization (Boulding 2014); when there are structures of political options that respond to the will of citizens (Tilly 1978); and if the protest is believed to be effective (van Stekelenburg and Klandermans, 2013). According to Thomas and Louis (2013), people are more likely to take part in a protest if they understand and believe in the specific aims of the protest movement. This all makes a theoretical meaning: people protest when the cost of participation goes down and when the benefits of the success of their movement matter to their personal life. The right to peaceful assembly, association and freedom of expression is enshrined in a number of human rights treaties. Do not believe more than 60 years after the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was signed that everyone has the right to express an opinion and to meet peacefully? Surprisingly, many people do not consider these rights important or even do not exist. In 2008 Azerbaijan, Egypt, Jordan, Kenya, South Korea and Thailand made up more than 25 percent. Respondents believed that their governments had the right to ban peaceful demonstrations. Less than half of those polled in Russia and Egypt believe that freedom of expression is very important. Even in emerging democracies like Germany and the USA, almost 25 percent of those surveyed did not consider freedom of expression to be important (, 2008).

The right to freedom of expression is closely linked to the right to freedom of assembly and the right to protest. Assemblies that represent a deliberate and temporary gathering of a group of people in a private or public space for a specific purpose (UNHRCR, 2012) play a key role in mobilizing the population and shaping complaints and aspirations. “(UNHRCR, 2011) At the same time, the expression of individual and collective opinion is one of the goals of all protests. (UNHRCR, 2012). The right to protest is also closely linked to human rights activities, including the recognition, protection or exercise of rights. Protests in various countries in the region are used for specific acts of violence, eviction, labor problems or other violations of rights, both as a means of raising the threshold for guaranteeing fundamental rights at the national level and as a means of integrating many rights into the ongoing development of international human rights law. The protest is also closely linked to the promotion and protection of democracy, with the Court of America recognizing that, in protesting against the collapse of the democratic system, “not only must the rule of law be exercised but the duty to defend democracy must be respected.”


According to UNHRCR (2012), protest is a form of individual or collective action aimed at expressing ideas, views or values of dissent, opposition, denunciation or justification. These include the expression of opinions, views or political, social or cultural perspectives; expressing support or criticism of a group, party or government; respond to policy or condemn a public issue; strengthening the identity or awareness of the group’s situation regarding discrimination and social isolation.

Today’s Internet is an important communication tool that people can connect to and connect to in an adaptive, fast and efficient way. It is seen as a tool with unique opportunities to exercise freedom of expression. The new forces offered by the Internet include the ability to connect and unite people acquired in the digital age, which contributes to the realization and full realization of other civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights. In the age of digital technology, meetings and clubs can be organized and organized with a short message at a low price without notice. The Internet remains an important tool for monitoring and reporting human rights violations at demonstrations and meetings.

The Internet can be viewed and analyzed as an organizational tool or platform for protest (UNHRCR, 2013). In practice, it serves as a means of disseminating, convening and publishing physical meetings and gatherings in a particular public place (for example, through social networks, blogs or forums), thus expanding the boundaries of participation. The Internet provides an opportunity to organize an online protest, create a common room for negotiations, reduce distances and time, and simplify formalities and agendas (INDH, 2013). Both attitudes should be protected and promoted to the extent that they contribute to the full realization of human rights (INDH, 2013).

Statement of the problem

Over the years in Nigeria, the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) have earned an ill reputation and lost so much goodwill. This is due to some members of the force whose open and direct embrace for bribery, truth manipulation, abuse, public assault and what we could summarily describe as forceful corruption. This apron of negativity had so become acceptable in the force that one could hardly hear of the word police without first associating it with the scriptural devil before the inquiry to recall the vision of the institution. More visibly since 2015, there has been an upsurge of brutality, assault and killings of young Nigeria citizens from the members of the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) especially from the police unit called Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS). This unit has won national recognition for assault, maiming and killings of Nigeria citizens. This act is against the vision of the unit. The SARS unit of the Nigeria Police Force was set up as a response to arm robberies, kidnappings and other heinous armed related crimes in Nigeria. This vision had kicked off successfully and the unit has been of great usage until 2015 when reports concerning their negligence of duty (irresponsible behaviour like mass arrest, unwarranted individual arrest, kidnapping of private citizens, defrauding of citizens, participation in arm robberies and public assault of individuals), sky-rocketed. Their excesses brought despair to homes as they continue to maim innocent lives based on the assumption of individual’s criminality and not proper investigation. The SARS became a tool of terror, replacing the Force vision of protecting lives and properties, they reversed to destroying lives and properties. This situation however is mostly obtainable in the southern (south-east, south-west) part of Nigeria and less operated in the northern part of Nigeria. A situation misunderstood by the south region as a political and regional agenda. The SARS operatives therefore lost public trust and hence in October 2020, the youths of Nigeria took to the streets to protest against the brutality and injustice of the SARS. Nigerian youths all over the major cities of Nigeria (Lagos, Abuja, Port-Harcourt, Kano Illorin, Aba, et) called for the dissolve of the SARS unit and the reformation of the police force.

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This study is therefore undertaken to document the events of the 2020 ENDSARS protest and to reveal how the ENDSARS protest led to the scrapping of the SARS unit and the reformation of the Nigeria police force in 2020.

  Objective of the study

The primary objective of this study is to assess the merits of police reformation in improving national security. Specifically, the study seeks to:

i.          Elucidate on the importance of Nigeria Police reformation.

ii.        Ascertain how the ENDSARS protest brought about Police reformation in 2020.

iii.      Discuss why the ENDSARS protest is a symptom of bad governance in Nigeria.

Research Questions

i.          What are the merits of police reformation?

ii.        How did the ENDSARS protest initiate the move for police reformation?

iii.      How can the methodology of the ENDSARS protest be adopted for good governance in Nigeria?

Significance of the study

This study is an academic contribution and documentation of the one voice system adopted by the Nigeria youths against the injustice and brutality of the Nigeria Police Force. First, this study will be beneficial to security institutions including the Nigeria Police Force, the Nigeria Army, The Nigeria Air-force, The Nigeria Navy and other paramilitary bodies. These bodies will be able to fully comprehend that their major goal is to the people not against the people. It will also serve as a reminder to these bodies that their actions are fully acknowledge by the people whether good or bad. Second, this study will be useful to the government, both at the federal, state and local level. Government representatives will be able to know that their actions towards crimes and related offences are recognized by the people and when their accountability is in doubt, the people will react. Lastly, this study will prove useful to the Nigeria youths and even the future Nigerians. It will go down as one of the protest where one voice was employed to achieve change and specifically reformation for the Nigerian police.

Scope and limitation of the study

This study is focused on the 2020 ENDSARS protest in Nigeria that took place in October. The study centred on how the 2020 ENDSARS protest brought about the SARS dissolution and the police reformation. This study is anchored on the social psychology of protest. This study is however limited by extant literatures on protest and human rights activism.

 Structure of the study

This study is reported in five chapters. Chapter one gives a background to the study and the problem of focus. The objectives and study limitations were discussed in the chapter one. Chapter two reviews literatures on protest and examines some protest theory and how it relates to the ENDSARS protest in Nigeria. The methodology was discussed in chapter three. This study adopted the qualitative and critical analytical method; while the results of the study were presented and analysed in the fourth chapter. This study concludes the results in chapter five.


United Nations, Human Rights Council, Report of the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and association, Maina Kiai, UN Doc. A/HRC/20/27 (21 May 2012) para. 51 4

United Nations, Human Rights Council, Report of the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and association, Maina Kiai, UN Doc. A/HRC/20/27 (21 May 2012) para. 51 5

Human Rights Council, Report of the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, Christof Heyns, 23 May 2011, A/HRC/17/28, para. 31. It has also been stated that assemblies “play a critical role in protecting and promoting a broad range of human rights.”

Human Rights Council, Joint report of the Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association and the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions on the proper management of assemblies, A/HRC/31/66, 4 February 2016, para. 6. 6 I/A Court H.R., Case of López Lone et al. v. Honduras. Preliminary Objection, Merits, Reparations and Costs. Judgment of October 5, 2015. Series C No. 302, paras. 148 et seq. (2008).Authors’ calculations based on the polling data. These survey questions were all given in absolute terms; no question asked about potential tradeoffs between rights or between rights and security.

Human Rights Council, Report of the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and association, Maina Kiai, 24 April 2013, A/HRC/23/39. Association for Progressive Communication (APC), The Rights to Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association and the Internet, Submission to the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Rights to Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association, para. 14

Instituto Nacional de Derechos Humanos (INDH), Internet y Derechos Humanos, Serie de Cuadernillos de Temas Emergentes [National Human Rights Institute, Internet and Human Rights, Emerging Topics Booklet Series] (December 2013), p.

Instituto Nacional de Derechos Humanos (INDH), Internet y Derechos Humanos, Serie de Cuadernillos de Temas Emergentes [National Human Rights Institute, Internet and Human Rights, Emerging Topics Booklet Series](December 2013), p. 29



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