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14-day lock down: NHRC to take up cases of human rights violations by security operatives

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THE National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has asked Nigerians to report any case of human rights violation and abuse by security agents enforcing compliance of the of 14-day lock down imposed by the Federal Government to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

Executive Secretary of the Commission, Tony Ojukwu, called on members of the public to report such human rights violation.

He called on Nigerians to report either “by telephone calls, text messages or video and ensure that such reports include the location of the violation, date, time of such violations and a clear description of alleged violators and their victims.”

Ojukwu stated this in a press release sighted by The ICIR, in which he pointed that some cases of abuse are already being recorded as security operatives use extreme measures to enforce the lock-down order issued by President Muhammadu Buhari on Sunday, March 29.

President Buhari had in a nationwide broadcast ordered that Lagos and Ogun states, as well as the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja effect a lock down, restricting movement and gathering of citizens for a period of 14 days.

To ensure compliance, security operatives from the police, paramilitary and military have been dispatched to different areas in the the two states and the FCT to enforce the lock down.

There have however been footage of human rights abuses by these security operatives.

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Earlier, The ICIR reported how some Lagos Task Force officials were captured on tape destroying goods and wares of small business owners for disregarding the lock down order.

Meanwhile, Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa, a human rights activist and Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) has said that the Quarantine Act of 1926 does not provide the legal framework to restrict movement of citizens around the country and  arguing that presidenr Buhari acted illegally when he declared a lockdown order in FCT, Lagos and Ogun  states.

According to Adegboruwa, an executive regulation cannot in law take away a fundamental right of freedom of movement granted by the Constitution.

Seun Durojaiye is a journalist with International Center for Investigative Reporting (ICIR).

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