Despite the current pandemic that we are dealing with, people in different parts of the world have took to the streets to protest against violence, police brutality, and racism. In Nigeria, there has been a recent protest against police brutality and the maltreatment from the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS). This article discusses how to stay safe during a protest in Nigeria.
In some cases, protests are peaceful, but at other times, it may end up being chaotic and dangerous. It is thus, imperative to stay safe during a protest and avoid bringing harm to yourself.
1. Wear comfortable shoes
Protests involve a lot of walking, so you must wear a comfortable pair of shoes. Sometimes, you might have to run, so you should also get shoes that you will comfortable running with. You can go for breathable sneakers.
2. Wear your face mask
It is likely that when people are gathered together, diseases could spread more easily. With the period that we are in, it is best for us to good precautionary measures. Sometimes, it is really difficult to maintain distancing, especially due to certain actions by the police. Spraying of irritants like pepper spray or tear gas may cause one to yell, cough, or scream, which increases the spread of the diseases.
Wear a mask to cover your nose and mouth, and prevent the possible spread of COVID-19. Also, you could bring a few extra masks, in case it gets dirty or contaminated. You can also tie bandanas or scarfs across your face to protect yourself.
3. Plenty of water
It is advisable to go with a bottle of water to rinse those irritants. You should bring your water in an insulated water bottle, avoid sharing it with other people. You also need to drink a lot water while protesting because you might lose your voice.
4. Get adequate information about the protest
Before joining a protest, you should be well informed about what it is about and who is organizing it. You have to concur with the message being passed across. It would be best if you also learn about the legal implications. You should also gather information about the area where the protest is happening, and who’s organizing it.
5. Carry an Identification card
When going for a protest, you should also carry an Identification card. In Nigeria, there are a few means of identification you can bring, such as the National ID card, Permanent Voter’s Card, or Driver’s License. You don’t have to carry your entire wallet to a protest.
6. Carry light snacks
Consider packing light snacks and water as you would walk for long distances. This can help you replenish your lost energy. All these could be packed in a small bag pack. There are so many healthy Nigerian snacks you can take with you.
7. Avoid make-up and contacts
Avoid makeup or lotions as they could trap tear gas and make it more painful on the skin. Avoid eye contacts during a protest because tear gas can irritate your eyes and cause damages. Rather, use goggles instead to protect your eyes from those irritants.
8. Carry medications
Protests in Nigeria can escalate easily and become violent, leaving many injured. You should also pack some medications like pain relievers and a few bandages. If you have a personal health problem, make sure you carry your personal medications such as inhalers and epi-pens.
Things to bring to a protest:
- Enough cash
- Face masks
- Personal medications e.g inhaler, epi-pen
- Power bank and torch light
- Extra clothes
- Identification card and emergency contact information.
- Light snacks
- Sunscreen and lip balm
While there are certain things you can do to reduce your risks during a protest, you need to realize that even if your intentions are to protest peacefully, it does not guarantee your safety from injury or illness. For this reason, it’s important that if you decide to protest, that you do everything you can to protect yourself and remain healthy. Fellow Nigerians, we care about your health and safety.