In the light of the Zaria incident and the disturbing thoughts it has brought to the minds of well meaning Nigerians . I want to seize the opportunity to highlight the issue of riot control by security outfits and how other advanced nations go about it . Regardless of the recent incident where the convoy of the arrow head of the Nigerian military was disrupted by Shiites Muslims which led to an onslaught, you cant deny the fact that the Nigerian military have in the past been introduced in similar cases of public unrest and riot and this has always led to loss of lives and destruction of properties.
Now for the records I am not a security expert but it is pretty clear that the men of the Nigerian army are not engineered to handle delicate and sensitive issues like that of a riot . That line of duty is reserved mainly for the Nigerian police and military men should only be introduced at the most extreme of cases .
Now in every democratic setting where human rights are valued and respected , a protest, riot or a total breakdown of law and order is not an uncommon scene .
Most developed countries make sure that their security outfits are properly trained and equipped with riot control equipment’s to ensure swift response when such occurs and to minimize human casualties to the barest minimum while doing that.
Riot control refers to the measures used by police military, or other security forces to control disperse, and arrest people who are involved in a riot demonstration, or protest. If a riot is spontaneous and irrational, actions which cause people to stop and think for a moment (e.g. loud noises or issuing instructions in a calm tone) can be enough to stop it. However, these methods usually fail when there is severe anger with a legitimate cause, or the riot was planned or organized.
Law enforcement officers or military personnel have long used less lethal weapons such as batons and whips to disperse crowds and detain rioters. Since the 1980s, riot control officers have also used tear gas pepper spray, rubber bullets and electric Tasers In some cases, riot squads may also use Long Range Acoustic Devices ,water cannons, armored fighting vehicles, aerial surveillance,police dogs or mounted police on horses. Officers performing riot control typically wear protective equipment such as riot helmets, face visors, body armor (vests, neck protectors, knee pads, etc.), gas masks and riot shields
Several of this techniques were used during various major protests that took place this year such as the violent 3 day protests in Ferguson Missouri or the Tahir square to the port au prince protests in France. these protests were all subdued without the needles loss of human lives and the absence of the countries military men .
The developing country excuse that most Nigerians are coming up with about the issue is sadly not sufficient as other African countries like Mali have an effective riot police department .
On a more positive note on the 3rd of march of this year the Japanese Government and the united nations development pro gramme signed a collaborative deal worth $4.5 million dollars to aid in the rehabilitation of some African countries police system
On a closing note we should always keep in mind that the human life is sacred. In a country where human lives are respected the incident in Zaria would have led to an earth shattering outrage and maybe more protest. The Chinese government spends a whooping $125 billion annually on riot control equipment’s and stability because they know its importance giving its population.
The FG should see that an effective and well equipped riot control department is formed in our police systems to prevent another needless blood bath on the streets of our nation.