Consultant Counsels Stadia Authorities On Crowd Control

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A security consultant, Damian Ajah, has urged football authorities in the country to ensure adequate security at all domestic league match venues to prevent crowd problems.

Ajah spoke on the need for security at match venues against the backdrop of the crowd trouble in Egypt last week which left 74 people dead.

The fans were killed during a clash between rival fans of Al-Masry and Al-Ahly football clubs at Port Said, while 1,000 were reportedly injured. Al-Masry had upset its bitter rivals 3-1 in the match.

Ajah, who is based in Abakaliki, told newsmen at the weekend that efforts should be made to avert such problems as Nigeria was experiencing internal security challenges as Egypt.

“Egypt has been in political turmoil since the ouster of former President Hosni Mubarak just as Nigeria has the menace of Boko Haram.

“The Egyptian authorities failed to realise that the protests across the country could spill over to football venues, a situation linked to the Port Said incident,” he said.

Ajah called for an increase in the number of security personnel and other apparatus at match venues, especially in identified flash points to check incidents of crowd troubles.

“Football authorities should not leave security issues at match venues to the home teams alone but ensure that resources are committed to make security personal dedicated to their duties.

“Crowd unrests at match venues now will be disastrous due to the high level of passion attached to the game and which contributed to the large casualty figures in Egypt,” he said.

He advocated for a mechanism where clubs would be mandated to enlighten their supporters on the need to maintain law and order at stadiums.

“They should be educated on ways of channelling their grievances through appropriate quarters and not taking the law into their hands.

“Spectators found to constitute security threats at match venues should be identified and banned from stadiums to serve a deterrent to others,” he said.

Ajah called on Nigerian referees to be fair while discharging their duties and avoid making biased decisions that would incur the wrath of fans.

According to him, 90 per cent of crowd troubles at stadiums are caused by poor officiating.