Social movements, justice campaigns and civil activism have gained recent scholarly attention among non-Western democracies since the end of the Cold War. Yet the meaning and practical implications of civil activism remain contested especially in contexts linked to militarised democracy and the criminalisation of civil activism. Importantly, the broader political terrain within which militarised democracy is situated is increasingly changing, bringing new challenges to its understanding. This chapter builds on liberal democratic theory and discusses militarised democracy in Nigeria to critique state-centric notion of criminology. It draws on two case examples, namely the proscription of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) in 2017 by the federal government against its organised protests for self-determination and the state repressive response to the nation-wide protest against police brutality of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) known as the #End SARS protest in 2020. Both provide on-the-ground evidence of the criminalisation of civil activism. In the alternative, this chapter reflects on how transforming democracy can redress state repression and offer a better understanding of civil activism, which can strengthen developing democracies, including addressing questions of political marginalisation, distributive justice, police brutality, inequality, repressive state response and unequal state structure accounting for organised protests.
Amadi, L. and Imoh-ita, I. (2023), "Militarised Democracy and Criminalisation of Civil Activism in Nigeria", Canning, V., Martin, G. and Tombs, S. (Ed.) The Emerald International Handbook of Activist Criminology (Emerald Studies in Activist Criminology), Emerald Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 153-168. https://doi.org/10.1108/978-1-80262-199-020231011
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