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Nigeria deploys military against COVID-19 looters, rioters and other “criminals”

… Military provides two laboratories for tests

Amidst escalating reports of looting and armed robbery attacks around the country especially in Lagos, the commercial capital, the Armed Forces of Nigeria (AFN) says it is set to deploy it troops “against nefarious activities of criminals” looting and attacking Nigerians over the lockdown imposed to stop the spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19).

Calling “all criminally minded individuals” to stop disturbing the peace of the country, Coordinator of Defence Media Operations, Major General John Enenche, said that the deployment of the troops would be in line with the principles of Internal Security Operations and Rules of Engagement.

He therefore said that there should be no panic with any increased military presence “in the public domain,” assuring the citizens that “the high command of the Nigerian Military hereby assures the citizens that the Armed Forces of Nigeria is resolute and committed to the security of lives and property of the populace.”

According to General Enenche, the military is providing “the minimum necessary force to support the Nigeria Police Force and other security agencies, to checkmate the nefarious activities of criminals wanting to take advantage of patriotic and loyal citizens, who are observing the lockdown directive.

“Consequently, all criminally minded individuals are hereby warned to desist from disturbing the peace of other citizens of the Country. Otherwise, they will be tackled appropriately in line with the principles of Internal Security Operations and Rules of Engagement, in order to ensure the security of lives and property of peace loving Nigerians.

He also said that the military is providing two military laboratories for COVID-19 tests. They are the Defence Reference Laboratory in Abuja and Nigerian Air Force Reference Laboratory in Lagos. 

This, he said, is in addition to the provision of the 21 designated isolation centres and deployment of 80 trained medical personnel into the war against COVID-19, the military has also provided Personal Protective Equipment. 

Enenche also said that the high command of the Armed Forces of Nigeria is urging Nigerians to “abide by the guidelines provided by the government on preventive measures against contracting the corona virus. Key among which is the instruction on lockdown given by the Federal and various State Governments.

“This will ensure that appropriate actions are taken by the relevant agencies to indentify and manage cases promptly in order to prevent community transmission. Therefore, the Nigerian Military reiterates that, the essence of this measure is for the good of all Nigerians and other nationals residing in the country. Thus, all are kindly requested to co-operate with the security agencies to ensure that the lockdown is effective.”  

The military also solicits that the general public provide “credible information” to law enforcement agents on criminal activities in their neighbourhoods, to enable them nip their plans in the bud.

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