During these protests the Nigerian state used various tactics to either suppress the protests or to try and demobilise them through insincere “concessions”. To begin with, the ruling class, the state it controls and its head, President Muhammadu Buhari, attempted to quell the protests through window dressing. Inspector General of Police Mohammed Adamu promised on October 11 that the SARS unit would be disbanded and supposedly replaced with a new unit called SWAT (Special Weapons and Tactics). This was an obvious lie, as the same personnel that formed part of SARS would form part of SWAT. Over the last several years the government has made similar announcements resulting in no actual change.
Needless to say, the protests continued and grew into the largest in the history of Nigeria. As the protests grew, the state changed tactics and responded to the escalation with outright violence. Part of this involved the state deploying thugs to attack protestors in order to try and intimidate people off the streets. When this failed to produce the state’s desired result, it deployed the military and implemented a curfew in a number of cities. By October 20, however, the protests had spread across Nigeria. Some of the assets of the Nigerian ruling class were also targeted during these protests and the largest and most lucrative toll road in country, Lekki, in Lagos, was blockaded. On that day the military attempted to brutally end the protests and shot dead 12 people at the Lekki tollgate.