Lockdown: NHRC receives 105 complaints of alleged human rights violations

The National Human Rights Commission ( NHRC) has received 105 complaints and incidents of alleged human rights violation between March 30 and April 13.

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Mr Tony Ojukwu, Executive Secretary of NHRC, made this known on Wednesday in a report released in Abuja on the incidence of violation of human rights during the previous lockdown.

He said that the incidents were reported from 24 states.

The executive secretary said that Lagos State had the highest recorded cases with 28 incidents followed by the FCT, which has 10 recorded cases.

Ojukwu commended  many members of the public who actually placed calls and sent-in videos in response to the call to join hands with the Commission to monitor human rights violations during the Covid-19 lockdown period.

“This report therefore documents the various incidents of human rights violations allegedly perpetrated by security agencies and Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV) by other actors during the initial lockdown.

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“It also documents the various thematic areas in which the violations occurred, the nature of the violations, the disaggregated data on states where violations were reported, the agencies of Government responsible for the violations as well as the response/action taken to remedy the violations,” he said.

The states covered in the report, Ojukwu said, are Abia, Adamawa, Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Benue; Cross Rivers, FCT, Ebonyi  Edo; Enugu, Ekiti , Delta  Gombe , Imo  Kaduna state; Katsina, Kogi,  Kwara ,Lagos, Nasarawa, Niger Ogun, Osun, Plateau and Rivers .

He said that Enugu State recorded nine incidents followed by Abia, Delta and Nasarawa States which recorded seven,  six and five  incidents respectively.

He said further that Rivers  recorded five incidents while Imo recorded  four incidents

He added that Ekiti, Akwa Ibom, Gombe, Kaduna and Ebonyi  recorded three incidents each; while Kwara, Osun, Benue and Niger States recorded two incidents each.

He also said that  Edo, Adamawa, Ogun, Cross River, Kogi, Bayelsa, Katsina and Plateau  recorded one incident each.

“The report shows that complaints  were received and documented in the following thematic areas: extra-judicial killings, violation of right to freedom of movement, unlawful arrest and detention,

“Seizures/confiscation of properties, Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV), discrimination, torture, inhumane and degrading treatment and extortion.

“There were eight documented incidents of extra-judicial killings leading to 18 deaths.

“Out of this number, 12 deaths were recorded in Kaduna State , two in Abia arising from two incidents; while Delta, Niger, Ebonyi and Katsina  recorded one death each,” he said.

Ojukwu said  that the record speaks volumes of the protocols and rules of engagement for our law enforcement as well as the efficiency level and capacity of law enforcement agents to deal with the civil population.

According to him, it  is a sheer display of impunity and reckless disregard for human life in law enforcement by security personnel.

He revealed that the report  showed further that out of the 18 deaths, the Nigeria Correctional Service was responsible for eight deaths while the Nigeria Police Force was responsible for seven deaths.

“The Nigeria Army on the other hand was responsible for two deaths while the Ebonyi  Task Force on Covid-19, Afikpo South Local Government Area was responsible for one death.

“Other types of violations recorded within the period include 33 incidents of torture, inhumane and degrading treatment, 27 incidents of violation of right to freedom of movement, unlawful arrests and detention.

” 19 incidents of seizure/confiscation of properties, 13 incidents of extortion, four incidents of SGBV, and one incident of discrimination in the distribution of food items.

“The report finds that the Nigeria Police Force accounted for about 90 per cent of the total cases of violations followed by the Nigeria Army and Nigeria Correctional Service and other non-state actors,” he said.

Ojukwu said further that the report also found that 31 incidents of violations representing about 29 per cent of the complaints have been resolved by different security agencies.

“Given its mandate for the promotion and protection of human rights, the National Human Rights Commission on March 30, issued Advisory to security agencies to respect human rights in the enforcement of Covid-19 Regulations.

“This was followed by a Directive to staff of the Commission, CSOs and members of the Public on March 31 to document and report to the commission, any security agent violating human rights in their law enforcement duties while enforcing Covid-19 regulations.

“Hotlines were also circulated by the Commission to put this into effect.

“Security agencies were reminded to carry out the enforcement exercise in line with national human rights laws as well as international best practices to ensure that the rights of Nigerians are not unduly violated in the course of carrying out their law enforcement mandate,” he said.

Ojukwu said that NHRC in collaboration with Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA), the UK Department of Foreign Investment and Development, the Shehu Musa Yar’Adua Foundation and the Switzerland Embassy have developed an App for the electronic monitoring, documentation and reporting of human rights violation including SGBV.

He promised that the Commission would be updating Nigerians with the state of human rights violations and SGBV during Covid-19 pandemic on weekly basis throughout the period of the lock down. (NAN )

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