Various lockdown directives by the federal and state governments in Nigeria have resulted in undesired violent incidences questioning the footing of restriction measure in the country.
Although the federal government only announced a lockdown in Lagos, Ogun and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), several state governments including Kaduna, Osun, Abia, Bauchi and others also imposed some forms of curfews on their residents, bringing to halt, activities for more than half of the estimated 200 million population in the country.
The stay-at-home order has however resulted in a barrage of sundry violence attacks across the country in which security operatives, who are engaged to protect citizens, are fingered in most of the cases.
Since the announcement of the lockdown, various accusations, often backed by video evidence, have been alleged against the Nigerian Army, the police and other security operatives. In one of those cases, the Nigerian Army reportedly used some force on violators in Lagos, subjecting them to physical exercise for flouting the stay-at-home order.
In yet the most horrendous of the cases, a man was killed by an armed officer of the Nigerian Army for allegedly violating the lockdown order on April 3. Acquaintances of the 30-year-old victim said he went out to purchase food items for his family. A similar case of military-related civilian death was also reported in Calabar on April 8. A popular blog, Lindaikejisblog reported that a taxi driver was allegedly killed by soldiers for carrying passengers who were not wearing face masks.
Other forms of violence have also been reported in the country. For instance, inmates at the Kaduna Correctional Centre were reportedly involved in a violent riot due to panic about the COVID-19 pandemic. The fracas resulted in at least five inmate fatalities while 16 officials were reportedly injured.
Another wave of violence was also reported in Lagos as angry residents invaded a coronavirus relief centre to steal food. In a viral video, residents of in an unidentified community believed to be in Lagos were seen scaling the concrete fence to scoop food meant to be distributed. Similar videos of angry residents lamenting the inability to fend for daily consumption due to the lockdown has surfaced in many parts of the country.
In yet another extra-judicial killing by security operatives, a police officer in Abịa State on Monday, April 6 allegedly killed a petrol station attendant. The trigger-happy officer identified as Stanley Azu reportedly tried stopping a vehicle that violated the lockdown order but the driver defied the instruction. Witnesses say the police inspector chased the driver and reportedly fired at him but the bullet strayed and hit the attendant, Chibuisi, who was in his business centre.
Also on Monday, at least five people were killed and several others injured on in a clash between residents of Kakuri and Trikania community in Kaduna State and security operatives. The incident happened when police operatives and members of the Civilian Joint Taskforce attempted to disperse traders who defied the lockdown in those areas. Spokesperson of State Police command, Mohammed Jalige, said that the traders rather than return to their various homes after they were initially dispersed by the police, moved to Trikania to continue their business. He said an investigation into the incident is ongoing.
In most of the cases, the concerned security agencies promised to investigate but none has yielded a result yet