The German government has offered to train Nigerian police officers on how to deal with protesters without resorting to violence.
On Tuesday, November 23, a high-level team from Germany paid a visit to Musiliu Smith, Chairman of the Police Service Commission, to explore areas of partnership on police training, reform, and other issues.
Matthias Seeger, a retired Inspector-General of the German Federal Police who led a team, said it would be a wonderful start for the Nigerian police if his team could train the new recruits on best practices.
“I think the best is, for a start, if you want to build a house, you start with the basement. You focus on very few things, maybe two or three.
All the demonstrations we had in Europe, there are very few unique situations where police use their weapons; 99.9 per cent, no weapons. So, we offer to train for best practices. You have a great chance when you train 30,000 young women and men to become policemen, you take the best. It’s a big chance for you now when you train young people. This the future of the police of Nigeria, so you train them well from the first moment,”he said.
Smith responded by saying that protesters in Europe are not the same as those in Nigeria.
“I’d want to direct your attention to one point. It would be unfair to compare protests or demonstrations in this country to those in Europe, and I have my reasons for doing so.
What the men have had to confront in such situations over the last five to ten years, I believe they must be well equipped if they value their own life. They need to be well-armed and prepared so that if they have exhausted all other options for dispersing them or making arrests, they can make decisions or injure people.
However, on a few occasions, they are forced to use weapons in order to preserve not only their own lives, but also the lives of innocent citizens in the area. So I don’t think they’re doing a great job with demonstrations; there’s a lot of potential for improvement.” Smith said