Members of the Nigeria Police are alleged to have caused nearly 60 per cent of reported human rights abuses perpetrated during the second phase of the strict lockdown.
Tony Ojukwu, the executive secretary of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) said in a statement on Sunday.
Ojukwu revealed that a total of 104 complaints were received and monitored during the three weeks between April 13 and May 4.
According to him, Policemen were responsible for the vast majority of the cases (59.6 per cent), followed by non-state actors, COVID-19 state task force officials, officials of the Nigerian Army, and other security agencies.
The police were also alleged to have killed seven people out of a total of 11 who died due to human rights abuses.
The other deaths were caused by the Nigeria Security and Civil Defense Crops (NSCDC), Abia State Taskforce on Covid19, non-state actors, and an unknown perpetrator in Jigawa.
The highest number of complaints (13) was received from Enugu, followed by Imo (12), Akwa Ibom (10), and Nasarawa (10).
Meanwhile, Adamawa, Borno, Cross River, Ebonyi, Ekiti, Gombe, Kaduna, Kano, Kogi, and Ogun all had the lowest number of complaints: one.
34 of the violations were categorised as torture, inhuman and degrading treatment, 19 were forms of extortion and 15 were sexual and gender-based violence.
Others included extra-judicial killing, unlawful arrest and detention, infringement on the right to movement, and seizure of properties.
The NHRC said it has resolved 18 out of the 104 incidents so far, representing 17.3 per cent.
According to Ojukwu, there was a progressive improvement over the three weeks in how law enforcement officials enforced the lockdown “following public outrage and condemnation.
“Accordingly, a protocol has been established between the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 and the Commission to ensure accountability for the violations in line with the statement of the President that all alleged human rights violations will be investigated and accountability brought to bear for them.
“To date, all the alleged violations have been communicated to the oversight Ministries of the law enforcement agencies for full investigation and accountability. These are namely, Ministries of Police Affairs, Defence and Interior,” he added.
He said that the steps taken by the law enforcement agencies should be communicated to the NHRC within a month of the report’s release and promised that the commission will subsequently give monthly updates based on reports from the agencies.
“It is hoped that each of the security agencies will in the very near future identify, make public and communicate same to the Commission, the name of very senior Desk officer who will be in a position to offer quick response on behalf of each agency and facilitate early resolution of complaints escalated to such agency,” the NHRC boss said.
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