A report published in July had predicted how Nigeria and other nations would experience civil unrest as a result of the coronavirus pandemic that has ravaged the globe since December 2019 when it first emerged in Wuhan, China.
Nigeria is currently battling with a civil unrest initiated by a protest against police brutality but which has since degenerated into violence and deaths.
The report had listed Nigeria among “the junk-bond countries predicted to contract a shrinking economy that will drive civil unrest and instability during the post COVID-19 period.”
An analysis published in the UK Guardian said the economic shock of the pandemic “coupled with existing grievances would cause widespread public uprisings globally”.
The piece, published July by the Guardian, said the “highest risk countries facing a perfect storm, where protests driven by the pandemic’s economic fallout are likely to inflame existing grievances, include Nigeria, Iran, Bangladesh, Algeria and Ethiopia.
“Thirty-seven countries, mainly in Africa and Latin America, could face unparalleled street protests for up to three years.”
A few months after that report, thousands of Nigerian youth took to the streets to express their grievances and to demand an end to police brutality and all related abuses nationwide.
The sustained protests across Nigeria and other parts of the world forced the Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, to disband the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) and replace it with a new unit, the Special Weapons and Tactics team (SWAT).
The piece published by the guardian, was a report of global risk firm, Verisk Maplecroft, warning third world countries of the post-COVID-19 economic realities.
According to the firm, “the total number of protests in developing countries has almost rebounded to pre-pandemic levels, as long-standing grievances over socioeconomic inequalities, civil and political rights, and government corruption have resurfaced”.
Many countries are still in lockdown, a principal analyst of the firm had said adding that the full economic shock of the outbreak is yet to be felt.
Against this background, he predicted the number of protests are expected to surge “over the next 2–3 months, a timespan that coincides with the beginning of Nigeria’s #EndSARS protests.
“We can see that as the lockdown started the vast majority of the protests were covid related. We had food protests in Manila and protests in Bangladesh over the garment industries.
“At least 166 people died during violent demonstrations in Ethiopia in recent weeks, following the murder of a popular singer, Haacaaluu Hundeessaa, a member of the Oromo ethnic group, and a leading voice in anti-government protests. Public uprisings have also been seen in Manila, the Philippines, over food shortages and in Bangladesh among garment workers facing unpaid wages after the cancellation of billions of dollars of clothing orders,” he had said
In 2019, Verisk Maplecroft had recorded 47 countries with a significant uptick in protests, including Hong Kong, Chile, Nigeria, Sudan and Haiti. It predicted more turmoil in 2020.
In sub-Saharan Africa, Verisk Maplecroft “expected the risk of protests to intensify amid economic decline, poverty, and inability to guarantee adequate food supplies”. In Latin America, Venezuela is ranked as being at greatest risk of unrest.
The movement, which first began late 2017, erupted in fresh protests this month over the reported killing of a man by police Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) operatives.
The animosity towards the police unit continued with protesters demanding an end to the menace of police brutality and harassment of youth.
The federal government bowed to the pressure by disbanding the notorious police unit and replacing it with a new unit, the special weapons and tactics (SWAT).
Over 20 people have been killed since the start of protests while properties destroyed. On Tuesday night, soldiers deployed to enforce a ban on protests in Lagos, opened fire on unarmed protesters at the Lekki toll gate, killing many of them. The army has denied the allegation.
On Tuesday evening, the peaceful protests were hijacked by hoodlums which led to jailbreaks at two Nigerian Correctional Service (NCoS) centres and the burning of police stations.