Riots vs real estate

As we all watch the escalating violence in our country, it hurts our souls to see so much pain, destruction and death across so many cities in our nation.

How did we get here? How will we move past this? Will change be realized? Time will tell.

There is no need to state the obvious. We find ourselves in this situation due to the brutal oppression, violence and exploitation carried out by the notorious group – SARS. We wont spend time digging up history to explain the current situation – we will try, however, to discuss the impact it has on Nigerian citizens and the real estate that they occupy.

“Riots are the language of the unheard…”

MLK

When tensions rise to the point where citizens decide to take to the streets and protest, this typically means that they are resisting against a force that is leaning on them – literally and figuratively.

This usually will lead to anger and frustrations and ultimately violence. Purely peaceful protests are rare, and only sometimes effective.

Protesting and freedom of expression are core tenets of a democracy. Nigeria should be no exception. In a democracy, we also expect that our leaders (who serve us), should not subdue this expression when it manifests itself on the streets.

The most unfortunate consequence when riots turn violent, is the loss of human life. There is no numerical value that can be placed on a living breathing soul.

Easy Targets

Another consequence that has a devastating impact is the destruction of businesses and properties. We see scores of incidents where buildings, businesses and all sorts of real estate are damaged, burnt and destroyed by angry mobs.

There is no excuse for this type of expression, even if it is in response to state sanctioned violence perpetrated by those in power.

When you mix furious folks marching in the streets, shouting and charged, with clubs and machetes, stones and make-shift bombs – buildings become the easy targets. They make the perfect punch bags for rioters to release their rage. The results are devastating. Homes destroyed. Businesses demolished. Hospitals razed. Peoples entire life savings, gone in minutes.

The sad part is that most victims of this destruction are the very same people that are getting brutalized by the police. So in reality they are victimized twice.

The family business that sells food stuffs – ransacked. The electronics store looted. The family homes of some that happen to be in the mobs path – burned down.

When riots face real estate – riots win.

Whats Next?

When the smoke settles and weapons lowered, and when local citizens sift through the rubble and remains from the riots of yesterday, who will help them rebuild? Should we expect the same government that opened fire on protesters to help? I wouldn’t count on it.

Nigerians will be left on their own to pick up the charred pieces of their lives and businesses, and slowly put them back together. Nigerians have suffered for so long and unfortunately they are too familiar with this way of life.

End SARS NOW.

Posted by

Journalist based in the United States and Nigeria, focusing on Real Estate Development and the stories emerging in and around the built environment.

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