Nigeria: Amnesty International, Falana Task Govt, Security Agencies On Rights Violations

3 April 2020

AI and Falana, however, tasked the federal government to give clear instructions to security agencies not to abuse their powers and for President Muhammadu Buhari to stop soldiers from enforcing the COVID-19 regulations.

Director of Amnesty International Nigeria, Ms. Osai Ojigho, in a statement issued yesterday in Abuja, said the security officials were causing Nigerians more pains than they expected.

She added that while acknowledging the challenges and efforts made by the federal government to fight COVID-19 across Nigeria, there were worries from reports and videos circulating on social media showing violations of human rights.

She noted that violations include tortures, beatings and inhuman treatments by law enforcement agencies tasked with ensuring compliance with the lockdown.

"While acknowledging the size of the challenge and efforts made by authorities to fight COVID-19 across Nigeria, we are also concerned by reports and videos circulating on social media showing violations of human rights, that include beatings by law enforcement agencies tasked with ensuring compliance with the lockdown," Ojigho said.

She added that as the nation observes the 14-day lockdown, the rights of citizens must be respected and protected, including the right to health care, security, and access to sufficient food and water.

Falana, in a statement, described the deployment of soldiers to enforce the lockdown as illegal.

He added that the videos of soldiers torturing civilians showed the impunity of the military.

He said: "The several video clips, which captured the unwarranted brutalisation of the people, have been circulating at home and abroad. As usual, the military authorities have publicly defended the rampaging troops by dismissing the video clips.

"In a desperate bid to cover up the atrocious behaviour of the torturers, the military authorities deliberately refused to conduct any investigation into the complaints of the victims.

"Although, while not denying the authenticity of the video clips of horror, the Coordinator of Defence Media Operations, Major General John Enenche, said that 'the videos were old clips of past incidents that took place in 2012 and 2013.'

"Assuming, without conceding, that the incidents recorded in the video clips took place in the past, were the culprits identified and sanctioned by the military authorities?"

Falana recalled that based on a similar video clip, which recently exposed a group of policemen who had engaged in the brutalisation of some traders in Lagos under the pretext of enforcing the COVID-19 Regulations, the IG had ensured that the culprits were promptly identified and arrested for the purpose of prosecuting them.

He described the civilised conduct of the police chief as a demonstration of the readiness of the current police leadership to stop the involvement of police personnel in the crude infringement of the fundamental rights of the Nigerians to dignity.

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