Following reports of human rights abuse by some members of the Nigeria Police during the COVID-19 lockdown, the Inspector General has urged the Force to respect citizens while enforcing the movement restrictions.
In a statement released on Thursday, IGP, M. A. Adamu cautioned officers deployed to ensure the lockdown to desist from trampling on the rights of citizens under any pretext.
He ordered all officers on duty to be humane, professional and tactful adding that the world was going through extraordinary times and the lockdown was taking a toll on “our national life.”
Adamu also charged Zonal Assistant Inspectors of Police (AIGs) to ensure maximum protection of vulnerable areas including medical facilities, shops, markets, residential areas, financial institutions and Automated Teller Machines (ATM) points.
HumAngle gathered that since the lockdown began on Tuesday, there have been numerous incidences of policemen harassing citizens who are either essential workers or others moving within the stipulated areas to get essential commodities.
On Thursday, a man was reportedly harmed by policemen in Warri , Delta state when he stepped out to buy drugs for his pregnant wife.
In Lagos, Olowonihi Babatunde was harassed on his way to buy petrol. According to him, they stopped him even after he showed them his two kegs.
On Twitter, Toluwase Ogundele shared the case of his brother whose motorbike was seized while he went out to get drugs for his sick child.
Around Lagos and Abuja, the stories are similar. Mass harassments and violation of human rights by policemen who seem to have little idea about the technicalities of the lockdown.
While the Adamu’s statement is a welcomed development, citizens fear that the police man on the street will hardly read it or take it seriously. They want real sanctions for disobedience of this order so they can feel safe.