03 August 2008
One way to disarm the delta
It seems that the Nigerian police apparatus has become reticent to restock its riverine police stations with arms (read article here). Militants have been so persistent at attacking and looting police armories that most local commanders now feel a strong dis-incentive to restock. Apparently, they feel that restocking will draw the attention, and fresh attacks, of militants.
What all this shows is a weakness on behalf of the state. This weakness, evident to all will probably have a positive and negative outcome. On the positive side, the fewer violent contacts between local police and militants, the better for the overall population. If the police are unarmed and afraid, they will be less likely, at least in theory, to pester and harass the local population. Unfortunately, when a police system fails, it tends to be replaced by a strategy of militarization. This has been the case in the Niger Delta, and will probably continue to be for some time.
Perhaps the militants will find a way to disarm the army as well...