Achieving Positive Peace Through Addressing the Structural Cause of Protest in Nigeria and Addressing the Requests of the Nigerian Youths: A Response on the Role of Nigerian Government Towards Restructuring and Eliminating Corruption in Nigeria.
Père John Aniobi

Nigeria, at this time, is experiencing a historical change. The youths of the nation have risen like a hungry lion in a peaceful protest scampering after her problem and pouring out their frustration and anger like venom against corruption, bad governance and structural problems in Nigeria. The Nigerian youth began protesting against police brutality and the like. They began their protest against a special unit in the police force called “SARS”. They have outlined numerous times this unit has extrajudicially killed and inappropriately molested the youths of Nigeria. They have tortured and maim many. They became torn on the flesh of some innocent citizens of the giant of Africa. They have brought sorrows and pains to so many families who in one occasion or the other encountered them negatively and who have lost their loved ones in a most pitiable manner. Today the youth have woken up, and have started a seemingly endless protest which if not taken seriously by the government may result in violence and unrest. The lack of respect for the rule of law, abuse of the constitutional doctrines, and lack of respect to the supremacy of the law in Nigeria has awakened the Nigerian Youth.

Therefore, in this article, I would like to expound on the problem the Nigerian youths want the government to address and also place a note of warning on the Nigerian government not to try using security agencies especially the soldiers and the likes to try resolving this unexpected and an unusual but positive protest by our Nigerian youths. The reasons for such warning is that the issue at hand is not tribal, religious or sentimentally masterminded, but a protest emanating from the aggrieved Nigerian youths who have been drinking from the big ocean of frustration and negligence by the Nigerian government. Hence the government should be aware that they can’t attain peace in this situation through security. But can harvest a basket full of peace and success, if they listen attentively to the plights and the demands of the Nigerian youths and the Nigerians in general.


The youths have so many requests and those requests are just an overview of the Nigerian problem. The Nigerian youth unanimously approved and released to the federal government the need to meet their demands, of which they will not go off the streets if not properly addressed.
The Nigerian youths are tired of the country, they are tire of engaging in crimes as a result of joblessness. They have gained frustration on several cybercrimes, they like prodigal sons have wanted to return back, but their fathers occupying the seats of authority have refused to welcome them. The students are tired of strikes which have made so many of them graduate at least two years after their supposed time of graduation. The youths in business are tired of frustration and difficulty they suffer due to high import duties and the difficulties they experience in the hands of the custom officers. They are tired of unemployment which has given rise to many of them tearing up their school certificates in frustration after all the sufferings they encountered in the universities. They are tired of seeing injustice and corruption reigning in Nigeria. They are tired of the frustration they experience at the embassy and they are tired of risking their lives in the Mediterranean Sea and are tired of mourning their numerous brothers, who died in the Sahara desert just because they want to run away from bad government in search of greener pastures. The youths are protesting against the huge salaries of the senators and government officeholders. They are saying that such a heavy amount can employ so many of them. When they hear that a huge amount of our money is sent out by some government officeholders, they become aggravated and that is why they took to the streets protesting.
The youths have not seen any explanation to give to their future children on the fact that people should be suffering in a nation richly blessed with every spiritual and material gift from the heavenly places. The youths are also crying because the school fees are on the high side. The university students pay school fees through great difficulty and pains. They are asking whether the government cannot give them free education or subsidise their school fees. They are tired of being used as political thugs during and after election. The youths are saying that they are not lazy, they they are ready to work. They are even asking the government to pay them for they are even working as protesters. How can the government explain to the youths that they don’t know the solution to the ordinary electricity supply and you want to remain silent? They are saying “No” that is why they have taken to the streets in protest.
In fact, the protest by the Nigerian youth is a sign that they are fed up, they are tired and their tiredness and frustrations gave rise to the recent “End Sars” saga. And I warn Nigerian government to be serious this time. Let them not play politics with the youths for they want real CHANGE!

In our country Nigeria, each day we experience a high level of conflict and violence and it has put our country into a state of insecurity and has debarred foreign investors from coming in to invest, hence the economy of the giant of Africa is on daily basis on the decline. The consequences of such decline are: hunger, sickness, and difficult times become the other of the day. And it seems that nothing is been done about it. And in this difficult situation, how can there be peace and harmony. Therefore crime, violence, conflict becomes the other of the day. People are protesting from every angle and the society is in a state of chaos. Protesters everywhere and so far I think that the government has only tried to create a peaceful nation through security. The government thinks that they can gain peace through security. They fail to recognise that there was never a time in history where peace was restored or gained through security. Hence we can never gain peace through security but we can gain security through peace. But we can arrive at peace through dialogue on an equal basis. We can use Isreal and Palestinian conflict as a case study. Israel has a great security outfit but it has not given then peace and unity between themselves and Palestinian. The Gaza Strip has continued to be a problem between the two countries. They have continued to point finger at each other. They may seem to have relative peace but what Israel has is security. The conflict is still there for both parties still have reservations.

In Nigeria, there is a lot of conflict and violence. A lot of parties are agitating crying against injustice and a bad system of governance, and today, the youths have risen up to protest. Moreover, it seems that the government is not doing anything to solve the conflict and the heavy protest. May be they are thinking that it will be business as usual. The government seems to pay deaf ears in the face of conflict and uproar.
We need also to remember that Nigeria has been in turmoil, unrest and the crime rate has soared that Nigeria has been regarded as one of the most unsafe countries.

The Nigeria 2019 crime and safety report: Lagos, according to The current U.S. Department of State Travel Advisory (at the date of this report’s publication) assesses Nigeria at Level 3; indicating travellers should reconsider traveling to the country due to crime, terrorism, civil unrest, kidnapping, and piracy. Going through the report one can notice that Nigeria is in serious tension and threat. Thus, we can say that the root of Nigerian problem is corruption. Corruption has destroyed Nigeria, nothing is working in this country. Nigeria today represents whatever one can imagine as bad. Therefore, the actions of the youths especially this ongoing peaceful protest is not only necessary but also required.


Nigerian government should as a matter of urgency and necessity make pronouncements and commence an exercise that will remove all forms of lies beclouding them. They should order the military to stay out of the scene, the youths should be allowed to express themselves in a peaceful protest. The government should accept sincerely the demands of the youth because their demands are for the general good and not for any selfish interest.
If you do not want violence, solve the conflict. If you want the youths to stop protesting, address the problem. Listen to the youths!
One of the best approaches to solving the problem is “mediation” borrowing the words of Johan Galtung. In his lectures “Breaking the cycle of violence” Johan Galtung explains that “Wherever there is violence (protest), it means that there are some unresolved conflict. The unresolved conflict means that there are incompatible goals including means that have not been resolved, that have not been superseded, that have not been transformed and have not been transcended.”
The conflict between the Nigerian youths and government is “structural”. The structure of Nigerian policy and administration is very weak and shaky and that has given rise to numerous conflict and violence in the past and at present the national youth protest. The irony of the matter is that we do not know at the present what will be the outcome of the protest. But I warn again “If you do not like violence (protest) solve the conflict”. The government may try to use the military and other security personnel to silence and incapacitate the youth, but I promise them that under all similitude, they have accomplished nothing, for at the end of the day the conflict, violence and protest will remain, it can only take another dimension.


The government has been in the habit of trying to negotiate with the conflicting parties in Nigeria. They always follow an easy route which is always forensic. They even started a negotiation with a well known group the world would term terrorist. And we all can bear witness that the negotiation never addressed the problem.
The youths at this time are not ready for such negotiation because negotiation is continuation of war by verbal means according to Johan Gultung. It is a kind of suppression, it is never the way forward. In negotiation, the government will only try to put on debate with the youths, and try to convince them to go back to their homes. Then after, they will do less or nothing with regard to the request of the youths. The French word for debate is “debatre” which means battle. The goal of debate is to win and one wins a debate when he is capable of cornering the opponent and having him strangulate himself in a contradiction. Consequently, the youths are not calling for negotiation. They are not crying for palliative be given them, they are tired of the government paying them off and getting them to strangulate themselves in confusion and at the end, they are tagged “The Lazy Youths”. They want the government to address the structural problems of this Nation.

Reconciliation before the solution of the underline conflict could be termed pacification. Pacification according to Mariam Webster is the act of forcibly suppressing or eliminating a population considered to be hostile. That can mean in the case of the youth protest as appeasing the youth through diplomacy or even just by settling the problem through argument. Nigeria youths are not looking for a diplomatic settling of the cause for protest, they are sincerely in search for a prognosis that should be based on strategies that works. They are searching for a solution that should be based on the full acknowledgement of the problem of Nigeria as a nation.
There is what is called holistic and dialectic thinking and call for equity. Nigeria government should be careful and learn and practice those principles which are holistic and dialectical.
We are expecting the government to work on some of these structural issues: Militarily, they should make sure that the lives of the citizens are highly protected. They should stop killing people. Let the lives of the Nigerian citizen’s matter. The government should be able to sit down and dialogue within themselves. They should be able to discuss what each group protesting wants, even if they don’t love the faction.
Politically, they should stop fake promises and say what they can do. In fact, the government should have a proposal and such proposal should run through. If the present government could not finish the projects in the proposal, the incoming government should continue. Also the government should stop twisting arms, they should stop threatening. Let the people of Nigeria see a positive result.

Economically, the government should be able to build a stable economy. They should make our economy great by building business structures and serious economic reform. They should cut the salary of the senators and high government officeholders and use the money in constructing industries that will benefit the youth through employment. They should create employment through erecting factories and companies that will create a massive job.

Nigerian youths are suffering, they are being massacred. They are not being protected even as they protest. I implore the Nigerian Government not to joke with the situation at hand; they should not create more tension by sending the military. I will tell the Nigerian government that very soon the military will revolt against them. I know that military men are angrier than Nigerian youths. If they fail to do the needful right now, the government officeholders will regret it very soon. Stop killing the Nigerian youths. Make peace!
May God help us all at this time the Nigerian youth have decided to make a substantial and positive move towards making Nigeria great again.

God bless Nigeria!
God bless Nigerian youths! May the souls of those who lost their lives in peaceful protest rest in peace Amen!

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