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What Nigerians should do during an active shooter incident

By Abiodun Ramon Oseni
01 April 2022   |   1:03 pm
In the early hours on the 9th of January 2022, the Nigerian military conducted airstrikes on targets in the Gusami Forest and West Tsamre village in Zamfara state, killing more than 100 militants, including two of their leaders. In response, motorbike-riding gangsters attacked village after village, shooting indiscriminately and killing dozens of Nigerians. Again, on March 6, a group of bandits attempted to attack Kaduna International airport by shooting indiscriminately, killing one of the airport workers.

[FILES] Gunman

In the early hours on the 9th of January 2022, the Nigerian military conducted airstrikes on targets in the Gusami Forest and West Tsamre village in Zamfara state, killing more than 100 militants, including two of their leaders. In response, motorbike-riding gangsters attacked village after village, shooting indiscriminately and killing dozens of Nigerians. Again, on March 6, a group of bandits attempted to attack Kaduna International airport by shooting indiscriminately, killing one of the airport workers.

The Zamfara attacks were in response to military airstrikes on the previous Monday, forcing criminals from their forest hideouts. These airstrike attacks against terrorists will continue, with more anticipated success not only because of the Nigerian government acquisition of the U.S.-made A-29 Super Tucano aircraft, but also in combination ofimproved tactics by foot soldiers supporting these airstrikes. Displaced terrorists will also continue to attack civilians using various tactics to carry out their nefarious acts. One of such tactics include active shooting. I predict more airstrike attacks will be conducted from the Nigerian military, which will likely cause terrorists to escape from their hideouts to attack civilian populations using active shooter tactics. Nigerians must be educated on how to survive active shooters.

First, we need to understand what an active shooter is. The agreed-upon definition of an active shooter by US government agencies, including the White House and US Department of Justice is “an individual actively engaged in killing or attempting to kill people in a confined and populated area.” In most cases, active shooters use firearms, with no pattern or method to their selection of victims. Active shooter situations are unpredictable and evolve quickly.

Nigerians must be prepared both mentally and physically to deal with an active shooter. Unlike defined crimes, such as a murder or mass killing, the active aspect inherently implies that both law enforcement personnel and Nigerians have the potential to affect the outcome of the active shooter event, based upon their response. If you ever find yourself in this situation, what mattersmost is surviving – the three steps you can take are to run, hide, or fight while law enforcement intervenes by eliminating or neutralizing the treat.

When an attack begins, find a way out of the location if possible. Your chances of survival are increased by staying calm during alife-threatening situation. In the process of getting out, visualizeyour movement before taking cover to shield yourself from straybullets and to conceal yourself from the active shooter. If you are out of sight of the active shooter, use any available means to escape, including emergency exits, windows, or backdoors. If you can help others without unnecessarily putting yourself in danger, please do so.

If escaping the active shooting location will put your life in greater danger, then you will need to hide and secure your location. Do this by barricading the door of entry, turning off the lights, and silencing your phone. It is important to note that law enforcement’s first responsibility is to stop the threat, not to attend to the victims. The medical team will enter the confinedarea once the threat is neutralized.

If you find yourself in an active shooter situation, and you don’t have the opportunity to run, hide, or shelter in a place, the last option is to defend yourself. Almost everything can be improvised to become a weapon. Look for anything that can prevent the shooter’s ability to see, breathe, or control their weapon. Work as a team in attacking or fighting the shooter, as this is a matter of life and death.When law enforcement arrives, please be aware that they will be in a high state of readiness, looking for any aggressive movement – keep your hands visible, and follow any verbal commands given by the law enforcement officers. Engagingwith law enforcement, running towards them, or reaching out tothank them could put yourself and others at risk.

I suggest that active shooter drills be conducted regularly in all high-risk areas in Nigeria, especially because there is an increased risk in the North East of the country, as some terrorists, bandits, and gangsters will escape airstrikes and foot soldiers, thereby retaliating against citizens. I want Nigerians to know that together we can make Nigeria a peaceful and safe place – security and safety is the responsibility of all Nigerians.

Abiodun Ramon Oseni, a US Service member and former US police officer, writes from Columbia, MD, USA.