By Anayo Ezugwu
CLEEN Foundation has called for disciplinary action against security personnel violating federal government ban on interstate movement. Benson Olugbuo, executive director, CLEEN Foundation, said that security agents were extorting citizens to allow movement in and out of states, thereby promoting the spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) across the country.
Olugbuo, in statement made available to Realnews, decried the complicity of security operatives, who allow interstate movements despite the restrictions. He noted that it has resulted in the increase in infection across the country. He expressed concerns that interstate travel is still on the rise under the watch of these law enforcement agencies.
“In Edo, a trailer conveying 84 travellers from the northern part of the country was intercepted at Irrua by the state task force, the travellers were taken to Irrua specialist hospital where three of the persons tested positive for COVID-19. In Akwa Ibom state, a truckload of cattle herders was apprehended at Itu LGA (a boundary point between Akwa Ibom and Cross River state) by a Divisional Police Officer.
“Ogun Waterside LGA of Ogun state that borders Lagos and Ondo states has also remained a key entry point due to the porous nature of both the land and sea borders. This has also led to a high number of COVID-19 infected victims that has been discovered in the LGA. In Ekiti state, reports from border LGAs such as Ikere, Emure, Ekiti South West, Moba, Ekiti West etc indicate that security agents extort money between N200 – N5000 from travellers to allow movement in and out of the state,” he said.
Olugbuo recommended that security institutions and their oversight agencies should sustain internal and external disciplinary measures to discipline personnel who are guilty of extorting citizens and violating human rights to serve as deterrent to other officers. According to him, there was a general low compliance by citizens to the precautionary guidelines by the federal government and the National Centre for Disease Control, NCDC, such as social distancing, stay-at-home order, ban on mass gatherings aimed at halting the spread of the virus.
“We found out that there was low compliance to social distancing across in most commercial banks and markets. Our report further revealed that extra-judicial killings by security personnel and other state actors led to the death of at least 33 Nigerians since the restriction of the movement started. The report found that porous borders both on land and on the water despite restrictions are leading to increased cases of new infections in border communities as insufficiency of testing centers in several states of the federation with several citizens who are qualified to be tested yet to know their actual COVID-19 status.
“To address the gaps, CLEEN advised commercial banks to set up more branches especially in urban areas with the high population as this will support social distancing measures by bank customers, while religious leaders and business owners should comply fully with government’s directives on COVID-19. The foundation also recommends that the government provides more testing centers in all the 36 states of the country to improve early detection, isolation, treatment, and higher recovery rates.
“The foundation noted that the mass movement of Almajiri children during the coronavirus pandemic exposes them to various risks and therefore called on each state government to set-up special social protection programmes in their states to cater for the needs of the children pending the development of a more sustainable plan,” the statement said.
– May 20, 2020 @ 13:25 GMT |