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“Security Agents Have Killed More People Than Coronavirus In Nigeria”

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The tale of two young lads shot dead at Nkpor Idemili-North local government area of Anambra state few days ago during a fallout between police enforcement team on lockdown order and some riotous youths in the area is one out of many tragic situations across the country as a result of the coronavirus pandemic .

Although Anambra has not recorded any death from the viral infection inspite of its index case but it thus appear that rather than the coronavirus killing its victim, the virus from security agencies enforcing restriction orders seem to be killing the masses faster .

Allegations of security agents using the lockdown order to extort money from drivers at the borders and elsewhere around the state abound as some of them allegedly apply brutal force to elicit compliance to bribery and kickbacks .

Most of the security agents appear to be ignorant of the fact that the sit-at-home and its subsequent lockdown order were infringements on the fundamental rights of the citizenry .

This however lends credence to the fact that most of the security operatives especially those of the rank and file lack knowledge of the constitutional provisions regarding right to freedom of movement , right to association , right to freedom of speech , right to life , to mention a few and why they should be civil , humane and friendly enough to the people while carrying out executive orders .

Although the total shutdown of activities is against the wishes and aspirations of the citizens because of the blight cast on the people by the lockdown but it is intended in good faith because governnent applied it as a precautionary strategy to curtail and contain the spread of Covid19 virus in the state and across the country .

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In other words, the current public health emergency requires that all should obey governnent directives on the prevention of coronavirus and other infectious diseases for their own safety , the safety of their loved ones as well as the safety of the entire state .

Be that as it may , security agents enforcing restrictions on human and vehicular movements should not be overzealous but respect the rights of the citizens as evident in the reversal of orders on relocation of food markets by Governor Willie Obiano , a situation security operatives capitalized on to unleash mayhem on the citizens .

The attitudes and approach of most security agents leave much to be desired this season of sit-at-home because Mr.Edward Obiefuna Ibuzo , representative of Onitsha-North 2 constituency in the state assembly, observed that the approach of security agents to the lockdown order is absolutely wrong . He said if the law enforcement agents use trigger on the people while they are bemoaning the lockdown , then the aim would be defeated ; making reference to the ugly episode at Nkpor Idemili-North local government area .

Ibuzo maintained that while concerted efforts are being made to fight coronavirus out of Anambra state , it is certainly not acceptable for security officials to take the lives of innocent citizens in the name of enforcing restriction orders on the covid19 pandemic.

He therefore stressed that the security apparatus on the lockdown should be reviewed because the law enforcement agents are compounding the problems of the citizens.

Furthermore a human right activist and chairman Board of Trustees of Human Rights Liberty Access and Peace Defenders Foundation in Anambra , Mr.Dede Uzor Dede, observed also that security agencies carrying out the resolutions of the state government on the lockdown order have not done noble across the country .

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Speaking in an interview with our correspondent on the implementation of the restriction orders , he said that it was not only in Anambra state that lives of innocent citizens have been lost to the triggers of recalcitrant security operatives , stressing that as at the last count , about 27 lives have been wasted by security agents since the commencement of the Covid19 sit-at-home / lockdown order in the country .

Dede explained that , ” from statistics those killed by security forces are even more than those killed by the dreaded coronavirus pandemic .

” we have said it earlier that the leadership of the Nigeria Police should embark on an aggressive enlightenment campaign to re-orientate the rank and file because this is where we have problems.

“the rank and file, some of them are not professionals because no senior police officer will engage in extra-judicial killings because some of them are lawyers , some of them are professionals and they know the value of human life.

” some of them need to go back to refresher courses to be in tune with developments. You are not supposed to risk the life you are supposed to protect.” he emphasized.

According to the human right activist , while citizens are compulsorily mandated to stay at home in their own interests , it should not give reason for any form of killing and the masses should not bath security operatives with acid or use weapons on them while on their lawful assignments .

” we have recorded 27 deaths from security forces since this Covid19 pandemic. A superintendent of police shot a man at Umunze Orumba-south . In Abia state , a civil defense official killed somebody . The same thing happened in Lagos and other parts of the country.We are supposed to have respect for human life.” Dede explained.

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He therefore urged the Inspector-General of Police to do more as it concerns re-orientation of the personnel of the police force especially as they are currently enforcing lockdowns and various restriction orders to prevent spread of coronavirus across the country.

While commending the commissioner of police in Anambra state , CP John Bassey Abang for his disposition in defending and protecting human life , he also charged Divisional Police Officers to constantly educate the rank and file on the need to have value and respect for human life in Anambra state . Meanwhile the Police Public Relations Officer , SP Haruna Mohammed did not respond to some of the issues raised here-in because he did not attend to the phone calls from our correspondent as at the time of writing this article .

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