The past few days in Nigeria have been nothing short of unbelievable for many Nigerians, the EndSARS peaceful protest, and its effect on businesses. At first, it all started like a joke and a norm, when the people raised their voices and so “NO!” towards police brutality. The first day, led to another and then another while spreading like wildfire during harmattan. It lingered into days, and then weeks, with movement and businesses grounded to a halt in most commercial cities in Nigeria. The protest hit the international scene, and Nigeria took the center-stage, as the international media beamed their light on us.
One would be hard-pressed to describe the events without seeming to take sides with either part of the standoff as emotions, euphoria and sometimes, unfounded principles have seemed to become the order of the day. The political class, business leader, rich, and poor were all stakeholders in this movement, and the ripple effect took on the economy, as businesses grounded to a halt.
However, the domino effect of the EndSARS peaceful protest has had a devastating impact on the fragile Nigerian economy. With an oil economy trying to pick up from the ruins of the cover-19 pandemic, a recession is unavoidable. Clearly, an economy this fragile can’t survive the economic impact of the #EndSARS peaceful protests, as most businesses were on lock and key, while movement became a fairy tale.
The Real Economic Value
Let’s bring the numbers closer, the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) disclosed that Nigeria has lost more than N700 billion in economic value since the #EndSARS peaceful protests started. The effect of the EndSARS protest on businesses is huge, with some ripple effect on the economy. Especially, an economy picking up its ruins from the black-swan (covid-19) that hit the market.
While the protest went on, the hot-term economic consequences for the people began to mount. A drop in consumer spending on non-essential goods was one of the most visible signs of its impact. A protest that shut down most of the major activities of Nigeria’s busiest airport. Also, the major roads were blocked and activities brought to a halt.
There were a few negotiations, between both parties involved. However, the trust deficit on the part of the government made the people not to rely on empty promises. Disagreement on a couple of things, ranging from the sincerity of the other party, approach to a peaceful resolution, and how to forge ahead. However, the major straw that broke the camel’s back was when the Nigerian Army attacked the EndSARS peaceful protesters.
What To Know About The Lekki Massacre
On the night of 20th October 2020. The Nigerian Army Forces shot at unarmed protesters at the Lekki toll gate in Lagos, Nigeria. According to Amnesty International, shortly before the shooting, CCTV cameras were allegedly removed from the toll gate. In addition, Nigerian authorities cut the electricity to the toll gate. This was to make the place dark and filmed evidence of the shooting would not emerge. Also, the advertisement billboards at the toll gate which are owned and maintained by Loatsad Media were also turned off.
However, Loatsad Media stated, “On Tuesday [20 October] when the curfew was announced we heeded the governor’s warnings and didn’t want our staff in any danger, hence by 3 pm our staff had been ordered to leave the site and the board was switched off based on the governor’s curfew request.” Protesters who used MTN and Airtel as their network providers reported that network antennas in that area had been switched off, leaving them unable to make phone calls or use the internet. MTN Nigeria apologized later that night for the loss of coverage at the time of the shooting.
However, the effect of the EndSARS peaceful protest, if accomplished, will be a penny foolish pound wise effect. This is because the long-term benefit will far outweigh the short-term loss – which makes it a good cause. Although, it is clear that an estimate of at least N10 billion, was lost daily during the peaceful EndSARS protest. Similarly, LCC reported that the Lagos State Government lost at least N234million to the closure of Lekki tollgates since the commencement of the #EndSARS protests.
After The Lekki Massacre
After the Lekki massacre, the peaceful protest started to witness various unintended outcomes, despite its positive and noble objectives. These unintended outcomes come from the frustration of the hoodlums the hijacked the protest from the youth. The anarchy, burning, and looting of businesses has hit the economy, with a blow beneath the belt. Clearly, this will continue to create bottlenecks and disruptions to businesses and the economy in general.
At the backdrop of the destruction of public and private properties and businesses in the wake of the #EndSARS protests. Businesses have been counting their losses while economy experts have listed the immediate challenges the crises will throw-up against Nigeria’s struggling economy. Also, the replacement cost to Lagos State Government, which is the worst hit by the crises, is put at N1 trillion. More so, the overall cost to the private businesses has been put at several billions of US Dollars.
Counting The Losses In Lagos State
The effect of the EndSARS protest on businesses in Lagos is unimaginable. Retail stores across the countries were looted and goods carted away. The long list of destroyed public and private property in Lagos includes Ajeromi Ifelodun Local Government secretariat; Palace of the Oba of Lagos; Lagos High Court, Igbosere; Oyingbo BRT terminus; Ojodu Berger BRT terminus; Vehicle Inspection Office, Ojodu Berger; Lagos State Public Works Corporation, Ojodu Berger; Lagos City Hall and Circle Mall, Lekki; numerous luxury shops in Surulere, The Nation Newspaper, TVC, and Shoprite Lekki.
The state Commissioner for Information, Gbenga Omotosho, said 27 of the destroyed BRT vehicles cost $200,000 each, while 57 of them cost $100,000 each, all totaling about N3.9 billion. According to the police, the 25 stations burnt in Lagos are Orile, Amukoko, Layeni, Ilasamaja, Ikotun, Ajah, Igando, Elemoro, Makinde, Onipanu, Ebute Ero, Pen-Cinema, Isokoko, Alade, Cele, Igbo-Elerin, Shibiri, Gbagada, Onilekere, Makoko, Daleko, Asahun, Makinyo, Amuwo-Odofin, Anti-Kidnapping, Surulere. Other police stations that were vandalized but not burnt were Ojo, Ojodu, Mowo, PPL, and Morogbo.
The Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, was at the Ajeromi Ifelodun Local Government Secretariat on Friday, where he saw several cars in the expansive premises of the LGA that were either burnt or damaged. All the buildings within the premises, including that of an old generation bank located there, were also destroyed.
The effect of the EndSARS protest on businesses in other states is also enormous. A release by the Anambra State Police Command’s Public Relations Officer, SP Haruna Mohammed showed that 21 police divisions were attacked by hoodlums who disguised as protesters, while seven of them were burnt down. Other government property burnt or destroyed includes High Court Ogidi, Idemili North LG Secretariat, while Zik Statue at DMGS roundabout, Onitsha was vandalized.
Also, the nation’s capital, Abuja, Kano, Oyo, Ogun and Plateau states witnessed destruction, death and looting. In Kano state, rampaging youths went after shops and homes of residents in the area carting away valuables and setting some ablaze. Several vehicles were also burnt.
Business activities were brought to a standstill along the most affected areas that include Airport Road, Sarkin Yaki, Court Road, Burma Road, and Zungeru Road. In Plateau state, bank, shops were destroyed. In Enugu, Youths participating in the #EndSARS protest grounded the state capital. Motorists were prevented from getting to their destination on time. Thousands of youths supporting President Muhammadu Buhari and scores of others calling for an end to police brutality staged multiple protests in different parts of Port Harcourt, Rivers State, bringing social and economic activities to a standstill.
Effect On GDP
Assets replacement cost in Lagos put at N1trn, and it will definitely manifest in the GDP. According to industry executives and economists, the result will manifest in a fall in real Gross Domestic Product, GDP. It will fall to around 6.91% year-on-year, deepening the projected economic contraction this year, disruptions in supply-chain, and faster rise in inflation. Investment bankers clearly stated that about N1trn is lost to firms. More so, job losses and poverty are certainly going to be on the rise.
Lessons For Entrepreneurs – Insurance
The event of the EndSARS protest has made a lot of entrepreneurs see the need to plan for unforeseen circumstances, as well as have a contingency plan. In this part of the world, an average entrepreneur sees insurance as a luxury, rather than a necessity. It is among the least things he considers, rather than the first. This is the approach of business leaders to insurance. However, times are changing as entrepreneurs are becoming more informed about the benefit of business insurance, and why they need one. We also can’t rule out the fact that it is going to be a tough one for the insurance industry as their services are going to be needed across the length and breadth of the Nigerian business landscape.
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