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Friday, April 17, 2020

Anambra COVID-19 Killings: Otu Oka Iwu demands coronor inquest - ITREALMS

The Otu Oka Iwu (Law Society) has condemned in very strong terms the killing of two residents of Anambra State by operatives of the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) while allegedly enforcing the lockdown order by the Anambra State Governor, Chief Willie Obiano, reports ITREALMS.

This is coming as the Otu Oka Iwu has demanded for coronor inquest, according to its  President, Otu Oka Iwu (Law Society) Chief Chuks Ikokwu in a press statement available to ITREALMS.

"We are informed that the two youths were shot dead following argument with police operatives who ordered them to go indoors, notwithstanding that they were within the precincts of their house at Nkpor, near Onitsha, Anambra State," he said.

Noting thought that this incident is one of the many reported cases of gross human rights violations by law enforcement agencies on the heels of efforts to contain the coronavirus pandemic.

The society noted that these incidences have become a recurring feature, given that the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has particularly accused the police and other law enforcement agencies of trampling on the rights of citizens in the guise of enforcing the COVID-19 orders.

He pointed out that equally instructive is the fact that the five South Eastern States have once again been turned into a theatre of war, being among the top 10 States where the police operatives are especially trigger-happy in enforcing the coronavirus orders. 

"Aside from Anambra State which has now joined this inglorious list, Abia, Ebonyi, Enugu and Imo are among the States with the highest recorded cases of human rights violations linked to the enforcement of coronavirus directives. This is notwithstanding the fact that the States have very few cases of COVID-19," he said.

Otu Oka Iwu expressed sadness over the security operatives killing of more citizens in the South East States than the dreaded coronavirus pandemic. 

"In fact, while the South East States have not recorded any COVID-19 related case, the law enforcement agencies have killed no less than five South East residents. This is totally unacceptable," the group bemoaned.

Emphasising that the NHRC has reported incidences of human rights violations in such areas as extra-judicial killings, violation of the right to freedom of movement, unlawful arrest and detention, seizure/confiscation of properties, sexual and gender based violence (SGBV), discrimination, torture, inhumane and degrading treatment and extortion.

These violations, the group of lawyers, said, arose as a result of excessive or disproportionate use of force, abuse of power, corruption, and non-adherence to international and national human rights laws and best practices. This cannot be allowed to continue.

They encouraged all citizens to remain law-abiding and obey all orders aimed at containing COVID-19 pandemic.

"We demand that a coroner’s inquest should immediately be set up by the Anambra State Government to unravel the circumstances leading to the death of these youths who have been cut down in their prime.

"We ask the Inspector-General of Police, Mr. Mohammed Adamu and the Minister of Police Affairs Muhammad Dingyadi to rein in their men to avoid a repeat of these human rights violations. 

Stressing that these violations are a sad commentary on the operations of the law enforcement agencies, including the Army which has also been found culpable in these infractions.

Further, Otu Oka Iwu urged the President, General Muhammadu Buhari, retired, to activate an effective framework to contain these grievous human rights violations.

"We also urge the National Assembly to be alert to its duty of safeguarding the rights of Nigerians," he enjoined.

Chuks Egbune/DoP

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