Report: Police Lead in Human Rights Violation During Lockdown Extension

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Peter Uzoho

The Nigerian Police Force committed more extrajudicial killings and other human rights violations during the period of the lockdown extension in the country, accounting for 59.6 per cent of the total cases of violations.

The police was followed by Non-State Actors, mostly private individuals in sexual and gender-based violations (SGBV) related cases, which accounted for 18.3 per cent of the total cases.

The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) disclosed this in a report signed by its Executive Secretary, Mr. Tony Ojukwu, which was on alleged human rights violations recorded between April 13 to May 4, 2020 following the extension of the lockdown to contain the spread of COVID-19 in the country.

The report documented the various thematic areas in which the violations occurred, the nature of the violations, the disaggregated data on state reported violations, the agencies of government responsible for the violations as well as the response/action taken to remedy the violations.

According to the report, there were 11 documented incidents of extra-judicial killing leading to 11 deaths, out of which four were recorded in Abia State alone.

Delta State recorded two deaths, while Niger, Jigawa, Lagos, Anambra and Rivers states recorded one death each.

The report further showed that out of the 11 deaths, the Nigeria Police Force was responsible for seven, while the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), Non-State Actors and the Abia State Task Force on COVID–19 were responsible for one death each.

The report noted that investigation was still ongoing as at the time of the report to unravel the perpetrator of the extra-judicial killing that occurred in Jigawa State.

It revealed that other types of violation recorded within the period include 34- incidents of torture, inhumane and degrading treatment, 14 incidents of violation of right to freedom of movement, unlawful arrest and detention, 11 incidents of seizure/confiscation of properties, 19 incidents of extortion and 15 incidents of SGBV.

The report also indicted the various task forces on enforcement of COVID-19 regulations across the states, accusing them of committing 10.5 per cent of the total cases; saying, the Nigeria Army and the NSCDC accounted for 7.7 per cent and 1.9 per cent cases respectively.

It said the Department of State Services (DSS) also accounted for one per cent of the total cases, while a perpetrator representing the other one per cent was yet to be determined as at the time of this report.

The NHRC report also found that 18 incidents of violations representing about 17.3 per cent of the complaints had been resolved by different security agencies and the commission.

According to the report, Enugu State has the highest recorded cases with 13 incidents unlike Lagos State that had the highest cases with 28 incidents in the earlier report.

Imo, Akwa Ibom, Nasarawa, Delta and Abia states recorded 12, 10, 10, nine and seven cases respectively.

The report explained that the various human rights violations recorded during the period arose as a result of excessive or disproportionate use of force, abuse of power, corruption and none adherence to international and national human rights laws and best practices by law enforcement agents.