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Police to investigate alleged killing of 18 civilians over lockdown enforcement

The Nigeria Police says it is investigating the report by Nigeria’s official rights agency, the National Human Rights Commission, that operatives of the nation’s security agencies have killed 18 civilians as they enforce the total lockdown of major cities in the country over the Coronavirus (COVID). 

Executive Secretary of the Human Rights Commission, Mr Anthony Ojukwu, said emphatically during a national television appearance that “security operatives have killed about 18 persons following the enforcement of COVID-19 regulations and lockdown.”

The Commission, founded under a special law to monitor human rights violations in Nigeria, said in a report that it received a total of 105 petitions from families who petitioned over alleged unlawful killing of their member, through their lawyers. It then carried out investigations.

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.

Mr Ojukwu added that civilians’ complaints of “brutality and killings” by security operatives were received from 24 out of Nigeria’s 36 States of the federation between March 30 and April 13.

He stated that cases of violations of human rights and killings were higher in Nigeria’s commercial capital of Lagos, the national capital, Abuja and some States in the Southwest.

Mr Babatunde Ogunyanwo, a Police Deputy Inspector General, said the police are concerned about the report, stating that “we shall investigate and those found culpable will face justice.”

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