Skip to content

Young People Use their Voice to Demand Reforms in Africa’s Most Populous Nation

Despite forcing the president to disband the unit, they are not satisfied as they want total police reforms and for officers in the rogue department to face justice. But it goes beyond this because the wave of protests has given a platform to a section of the country’s young population who are deeply dissatisfied. On the streets, those marching are mostly comfortably-off young people, some with dyed hair, pierced noses and tattooed bodies. It is the sort of gathering that security personnel are quick to label criminals, but in truth, these are largely hard-working young people who have mostly had to fend for themselves without support from the state. The majority of them are between 18 and 24 years old, have never experienced steady electricity in their lifetime, did not enjoy free education in the country and had their years at university punctuated and elongated by lecturers going on strike. Although there is some level of organisation, the people who appear to be co-ordinating action on social media do not want to be identified as leaders. They have been able to pull together everything from water, food and banners to arranging bail for those arrested.