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‘People only wear face masks to avoid security harassment’

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Why schools should not reopen now, by cleric

The CLEEN Foundation has disclosed that most people in the South East region of the country only wear face masks to avoid harassment by security agents and not necessarily to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

It had earlier reported an upsurge in human rights violations and extrajudicial killings by security personnel enforcing safety measures to contain the spread of COVID-19 in the region.

It explained that at the last count, security agents in the zone had killed no fewer than 12 persons, as documented by observers and monitors deployed by non-governmental organisation (NGO) focused on justice for oppressed people.

Executive Director, CLEEN Foundation, Dr. Benson Olugbuo, who disclosed this in a statement in Abuja, noted that there was also an upsurge in reported cases of sexual and gender-based violence across the country.

He also said there was an increase in reported crimes during the COVID-19 pandemic in the South East amid alleged compromise and extortion by security personnel at the borders, while the ban on interstate travels lasted.
Relatedly, Methodist Bishop and President, Vision Africa International, Dr. Sunday Onuoha, had cautioned against the dangers of reopening schools, as approved by the Federal

Government, saying reopening the learning centres would be counterproductive in the fight against further spread of coronavirus. Speaking at the weekend, while reacting to the reopening of schools for pupils and students in final classes, he urged governments not to compromise the safety of the school children, saying his position was based on the fact that the COVID-19 pandemic was still spreading rapidly.

He stressed that there was the need to jettison all plans to reopen schools now, pointing out that doing so would expose the students and their families to the virus. Bishop Onuoha, who is also Executive Director of Nigeria Inter-faith Action Association (NIFAA), advised governments to devise ways of keeping the students busy and conduct their examinations without gathering them together, even as the number of infections were increasing.


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