The German Government on Tuesday asked the Federal Government to release at least 30,000 Nigeria Police personnel for special training in Germany on how to manage protests among Nigerians without using weapons.
A high-level delegation from Germany, which visited the chairman of the Police Service Commission, Musiliu Smith, said it was willing to train the new crop of recruits into the Nigeria Police Force on best practices on street protest management.
The team, led by a retired Inspector-General of the German Federal Police, Matthias Seeger, had earlier visited the Force Headquarters where they interacted with the Inspector-General of Police, Usman Baba.
Seeger said: “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%, 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.”
Responding, Smith said Nigerian protesters were usually armed and law enforcement agents had to defend themselves from assault by the protesters.
He said: “Let me draw your attention to one issue. When we’ve protests or demonstrations in this country, it would not be fair to compare it to the ones in Europe and I have my reasons for this.
“For the last 5, 10 years, what the men had to face in such situations, I think they’ve to be well prepared if they value their own lives.
“They need to be well-armed, well prepared so that if they tried all other means of dispersing them or making arrests, they may take some decisions or sometimes, some persons get hurt.
“But on a few occasions, they are forced to use weapons not only to save their lives. So, I don’t think they’re totally handling demonstrations very well, there is a lot of room for improvement.”