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NHRC condemns rising killings, rights violation during lockdown extension

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The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has condemned rising extra-judicial killings and alleged human rights violation in the last three weeks of lockdown extension in Abuja, Lagos, Ogun and other states of the federation.

Executive Secretary of NHRC, Tony Ojukwu, disclosed that no fewer than 11 persons have been killed, just as it had received 104 complaints in a report on violation of human rights during the previous lockdown.

“At least, 11 persons were killed extra-judicially in the three weeks of COVID-19 lockdown extension in Nigeria. Of these, Abia State recorded four being the highest,” he said.

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An earlier report by NHRC at the end of the first two weeks of the lockdown indicated that security agents killed 18 persons in their enforcement of directives to curb coronavirus, a figure higher than the documented toll inflicted by the disease at that time.

Ojukwu noted that besides Abia, Delta recorded two deaths, while Niger, Jigawa, Lagos, Anambra and Rivers states recorded one death each. He disclosed that out of the 11 deaths recorded, the police were 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 each.

He said the investigation was still on going as at the time of the report to unravel the perpetrator of the killing in Jigawa State.

“Apart from the extra-judicial killings, other violations within the period include 34 incidents of torture, inhuman treatment, 14 incidents of violation of the right to freedom of movement, unlawful arrest and detention, 11 incidents of seizure/confiscation of property, 19 incidents of extortion and 15 incidents of sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV),” the report added.

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The new report, which covered between April 13 and May 4, 2020, witnessed a reduction from the earlier report in which 105 cases of human rights violations were recorded between March 31 to April 13.

The report further showed that 104 complaints were received and monitored in 26 of the 36 states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja.

The states are, Abia, Adamawa, Akwa Ibom, Kano, Jigawa, Cross Rivers, Ebonyi, Edo, Enugu, Ekiti, Delta, Imo and Lagos. Others are Nasarawa, Niger, Ogun, Osun, Borno, Bayelsa, Kogi, Benue, Anambra, Kaduna, Gombe, Zamfara and Rivers.

Ojukwu said the report showed some improvement and restraint in enforcing the lockdown on the part of law enforcement officials, adding that this followed public outrage and condemnation by all levels of authorities in the government, judiciary, the legislature executive and civil society.

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