Africa

Nigeria: Commission claims 18 killed in virus lockdown

Human Rights Commission says people were killed as part of 14-day COVID-19 lockdown declared by government

Olarewaju Kola   | 16.04.2020
Nigeria: Commission claims 18 killed in virus lockdown A view of deserted boulevard during a nationwide curfew imposed as part of precautions against the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic precautions in Lagos, Nigeria on April 02, 2020. ( Vanessa Ade - Anadolu Agency )

MAIDUGURI, Nigeria 

Nigeria’s National Human Rights Commission on Wednesday claimed security operatives killed 18 civilians during enforcement of a total lockdown in major cities in the country over the novel coronavirus. 

The commission, founded under a special law to monitor human rights violations in Nigeria, said in a report it got 105 petitions from families of the deceased through their lawyers and carried out investigations.

"Security operatives have killed about 18 persons following the enforcement of COVID-19 regulations and lock down," the report said.

Appearing on TV, Anthony Ojukwu, the commission head, said civilians’ complaints of "brutality and killing" by security operatives were received from 24 out of Nigeria’s 36 states between March 30 and April 13.

Cases of violations were higher in Lagos, the country's commercial hub, the capital Abuja, and some southwestern states, he said.

Babatunde Ogunyanwo, a police deputy inspector general, said the police are concerned about the report.

"We shall investigate and those found culpable will face justice," he told news station Channels TV.

Nigeria declared a 14-day lockdown in major cities in the country on March 29 to stem the virus’ spread. On Monday the lockdown was extended by President Mohammadu Buhari for another 14 days.

There are 373 confirmed cases of covid-19 in the West African country, with 11 deaths, and 99 people treated and discharged from isolation centers.

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