Nigeria's Generation Z

Amid the global protests of 2020, a generation of young Nigerians took to the streets out of frustration with the country’s leadership. In August, tens of thousands of protesters called for #RevolutionNow and in October to #EndSARS, referring to the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) police unit notorious for extrajudicial killings. President Muhammadu Buhari responded with a violent crackdown, deploying the military against the #EndSARS movement. At least 56 people were killed, and the authorities jailed protesters and froze activist leaders’ bank accounts.

The mass protests pitted Nigeria’s Generation Z against its aging political elite. In August, a presidential aide dismissed the activists for their supposed youthful inexperience. “A revolution is always a mass thing, not a sprinkle of young boys and girls,” he said. The comments led some people to label the aide an agbaya, a Yoruba word that means “bad elder”—or an older person who acts like a child—and has come to describe an educated but selfish adult wielding power.

Full titleAge and the Agbayas
PublisherForeign Policy
Media typeArticle
Topics Struggles and Uprisings, Perspectives on Migration
Regions West Africa

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