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FILE PICTURE: February, 2019

COVID19: CLEEN Foundation Demands Effective Enforcement of Ban on Interstate Travels; Urges Compliance with Preventive Measures

COVID19: CLEEN Foundation Demands Effective Enforcement of Ban on Interstate Travels; Urges Compliance with Preventive Measures

FILE PICTURE: February, 2019

COVID19: CLEEN Foundation Demands Effective Enforcement of Ban on Interstate Travels;  Urges Compliance with Preventive Measures

For Immediate Release
9:00 am
Thursday 7th May, 2020

1. Introduction

On Monday 27th April 2020, President Muhammadu Buhari
announced a one-week extension of the lockdown order and restriction of
movements in Lagos, Ogun and FCT Abuja which elapsed on Sunday 3rd May 2020
thereby introducing new measures across states in a phased process of easing
the restriction of movement through the following:

a. Introduction of overnight curfew from 8pm to 6am. This
means all movements will be prohibited during this period except for essential

b. A ban on non-essential inter-state passenger travel until
further notice;

c. Partial and controlled interstate movement of goods and
services to be allowed from producers to consumers; and

d. Strict and mandatory use of face masks or coverings in
public in addition to maintaining physical distancing and personal hygiene.
Restrictions on social and religious gatherings still remain in place. State
governments, corporate organizations and philanthropists encouraged to support
the production of cloth masks for citizens.

As a Wednesday 7th  May 2020, Nigeria has recorded 3145 cases, 103
deaths and 534 discharged. With the gradual easing of the lockdown order across
the affected states, there is apprehension and anxiety of an increase in the
number of new infections across the locations which have attracted criticisms
regarding the decision of the federal government. However, several Nigerians
supported the decision arguing that hunger and starvation had become a serious
threat to majority of Nigerians. Despite the announcement by the President,
some states are still under total lockdown with some other states have adopted
some of the measures as proposed by the President.

Below are our findings across the six geopolitical zones
from Tuesday 28th April 2020 to Wednesday 6th May 2020. 

2.0 Methodology

As a follow up on the report released on Tuesday 28th April
2020, CLEEN Foundation adopted a triangulation approach involving collection of
primary data by our state coordinators and volunteers and tracking developments
across the states from reliable secondary sources of information. CLEEN
Foundation has received a total of 992 reports collated across the six
geo-political zones and these are disaggregated as follows:

  • 584 reports on citizens’ compliance to
    government directives;

  • 277 reports on conduct of security personnel
    enforcing government directives;

  • 131 reports on human rights violations by
    security personnel enforcing government directives on COVID19 Pandemic.

3.0 Citizens’ Compliance With Government Directives

3. 1 Stay at Home Order

Public compliance with the stay at home order by the
government before the ease of restriction maintained low/moderate compliance
rate according to 69% of our observer reports. The compliance to the
government’s stay-at- home order considerably reduced in some regions such as
the South West particularly in Lagos and Ogun states. Reports received from our
volunteers indicates that the low and/or lack of compliance with the
stay-at-order were attributed to frustration, hunger and poverty as the higher
percentage of perceived violators are the poor and daily income earners whose
source of livelihood were adversely affected due to the stay-at-home order. The
situation was further compounded by the inequitable distribution of palliatives
promised by the federal and state governments for the poor and vulnerable
across the states.

In Gwagwalada, Abuja Municipal Area Council, Bwari and Abaji
Area Councils of the FCT Abuja, it was observed that it was business as usual
as citizens went about their normal activities unhindered and motorists were
seen conveying people conveniently within these areas. Movement of travelers
along the Abuja-Lokoja Highway continued despite the lockdown order.

In Lagos state, South-West Nigeria, it was observed that the
COVID19 Task Force arrested more than 50 fun seekers at Abule Egba area on
Wednesday 29th April 2020 for violating the lockdown order.

In South-East Nigeria, our volunteers observed that citizens
both in rural communities and city centres still go about their normal businesses
notwithstanding the imposed curfew and lockdown orders across the South Eastern
states. Specifically, in Abia State, it was reported that over 1,000 youths who
were jogging clashed with security agencies as they defied the lockdown order
at Opobo Junction along Ikot Ekpene Road, Ogbor Hill Aba.

In the South-South region, it was observed by our volunteers
in Bayelsa state that some riverine communities like Kolokuma failed to adhere
to the state government-imposed restriction which seemed only effective in the
state capital, Yenagoa.

Across the North West region, feedback from our observers indicated
varying degrees of compliance across the seven states in the region. For
instance, in Zamfara, Sokoto, and Kebbi states, there were no lockdown
directive from the state governments. Katsina and Jigawa states are under
partial lockdown as only LGAs with infected persons are under lockdown. Kaduna
state, however, is under total lockdown with a high level of compliance.

In the North East region, it was reported by our observers
that there was high level of compliance with the stay-at-home order in Adamawa,
Bauchi and Borno states. However, in Yobe state, it was business as usual.
Taraba has high level of compliance in some LGAs while others are not complying
at all. 

3.2 Non-Compliance with Social Distancing Guidelines

In several parts of the country, we observed the refusal of
citizens to adhere with the guidelines on social and physical distancing. In
FCT, Abuja, this was observed in Gwagwalada, AMAC, Bwari and Abaji Area
Councils, with economic and social activities going on as usual with little or
no compliance by citizens with the required precautionary and safety measures.
Commercial banks and other private businesses contributed to the problem by not
providing enough branches for operation thereby limiting the options available
to citizens.

In Akwanga and Lafia LGAs of Nasarawa State, it was reported
that activities such as wedding ceremonies were being organized. In addition,
intra-state movements without compliance to the social distancing directives
were observed. In Benue state, markets were operating on the sidelines despite
closure by the state government and clusters of people were seen at drinking
bars and other social joints.

In Edo State, it was reported that commuters, transporters
and even security operatives failed to comply with the physical and social
distancing guidelines. In Sokoto, Kebbi, and Zamfara states, markets and motor
parks were operating at full capacity. Generally, across all the geopolitical
regions, there were similar reports of overcrowded banks markets with little or
no attention and compliance to the social distancing guidelines.

3.3 Ban on Public Gatherings and Citizens Compliance

CLEEN Foundation findings indicates that public compliance
to the governments ban on public gathering in the last two weeks and last week
did not change as the compliance rate remains the same at 60% total/moderate
compliance level despite the increase in the number of observation reports.
However, observers noted that some citizens are tired of government measures
due to hunger and lack of palliatives hence, the eagerness to return back to
work and business ventures.

It was reported by our volunteers that mosques and churches
in states such as Adamawa and Yobe are fully operational, despite the ban on
large gatherings. In Delta State, some citizens violated government
stay-at-home directives by attending a Jumat service in a mosque in Ekpaparame
in Ughelli South area of the state. In some of the South West states
particularly Ogun, Oyo, Ekiti and Osun states, it was reported that most of the
mosques and churches have not been complying with the government ban on large
gatherings. In Ado and Ikere LGAs of Ekiti state, some pastors and members were
apprehended holding services. Three Christ Apostolic Churches (CAC) were sealed
off in Ado for disobeying the social distancing directives. In Cross River
state, it is observed that some churches held services between 5:00 am – 7:00
am against government directives on ban of public gatherings.

3.4 Inter-State Movements 

As already noted, our observers reported the movement of
travelers along the Abuja-Lokoja Highway. In Bayelsa state, it was observed
that there was complicity on the part of the security personnel manning border
posts and tollgates into the state. There were reported incidences of extortion
by security personnel to enable transporters and commuters enter the state. The
situation is not different in Delta state where there are regular entry and
exits into the state through the Asaba-Onitsha and Patani-Bayelsa axis due to
the compromising nature of security personnel.

In the South Eastern region particularly borders between Imo
& Abia States (Owerrinta/Okpala), our volunteer from Ngor Okpala LGA
observed that the porosity of the borders between the two states made it
possible for citizens to move freely with no hinderance. Transporters in Imo
State have devised various means of moving commuters in and out of the state.
It was further observed that the Abia State COVID-19 Task Force intercepted a
lorry carrying youths from the northern parts of the country into the state
against government regulation.

In South Western states, there have been reported cases of
influx of youths allegedly from Zamfara state into Osun and Oyo states. The
Governor of Oyo recently stated that the challenges with noncompliance with
restrictions on interstate movement was majorly between Lagos- Ibadan and
Ibadan-Ife Highway roads. 

In Yobe state, North East Nigeria, traders were reported to
have traveled to Kano for business despite knowing the high level of COVID-19
pandemic in the state. Kaduna state was observed to have strictly restricted
inter-state movements.

4.0 Conduct of Security Personnel on Enforcement of Government Directives on COVID-19 Pandemic

In terms of the general conduct of security personnel, CLEEN
Foundation findings indicate a general poor/fair conduct of security personnel
as reported by 59% of our observers on the COVID-19 enforcement duty. The
findings corroborate the increase in human rights violations by security
agencies. Only 30% observers reported that the security personnel were of good

4.1 Extra-Judicial Killings by Security Personnel and State

Our observers have recorded a total number of 31 deaths
since the restriction of movement started. On Sunday the 3rd of May, four (4)
persons were shot dead in Jen community in Karim LGA of Taraba state as
military officials tried to enforce lockdown in the area. The security agents
were reported to have fled the scene at the time of the incident. There was no
report of extra judicial killing in other regions in the country. In addition,
the Nasarawa State Agency for Youth Empowerment Scheme (NAYES) in trying to
enforce the state government’s directives banning commercial motorcyclists used
sticks to flag down a motorist carrying a passenger and a gallon of petrol
which led to an explosion and the death of both the rider and his passenger who
were burnt beyond recognition.

4.2 Brutality on Citizens by Security Operatives and Vice

In Edo state, there were reports of residents being
subjected to molestation and inhuman treatments by security personnel even when
arraigned by the mobile courts for allegedly violating government order on the
use of face masks. In Ekiti state, it was reported that the Ekiti State
security outfit have been overzealous in the discharge of their duties. A case
was reported of the Special Assistant to the Governor on Internal Security and
a member of the security arm of COVID-19 Taskforce in Ekiti State, who
brutalized a nurse on her way to the office and destroyed her phone in the

In Katsina state, it was reported that policemen are
harassing and beating citizens including women and teenagers every day and
stopping media personnel from reporting such incidents of police
misconduct.  In Abia state, it was
reported that there has been widespread reports of accusations of harassment
and intimidation by the Abia COVID-19 Taskforce. Our volunteers from Enugu State
reported that there was a clash between the Neighbourhood Watch (one of the
security outfits charged to work with the state government to enforce the
lockdown) and traders of Coal Camp Motor Spare Parts Market in Enugu North LGA
which resulted in both parties sustaining minor injuries. Sixteen (16) persons
were injured in Jen community in Karim LGA of Taraba state as the military
tried to enforce lockdown during a community festival.

It was also reported that personnel of the Nigeria Police
Force have had a fair share of brutality from citizens. In Ekiti State, it was
reported that Police Officers were physically abused by citizens while
enforcing the lockdown directive at Ikoye community in Ikole LGA. In addition,
in Okeola area of Eruwa Ibarapa, Oyo State, a woman assaulted a Police Officer
on duty who did not take any action. She was reported to have resisted arrest
and assaulted two officers in the process. We condemn the action against
security personnel and request for thorough investigation of what happened.
Appropriate sanctions should be meted to those found guilty to serve as a
deterrent to others.

5.0 Gaps Identified

•             Commercial
banks provided inadequate banking facilities for citizens thereby forcing
citizens to use only available branches in operation resulting in chaos in
different bank premises.

•             Lack of
harmonized guidelines or information to citizens on the timelines and
procedures for easing the lockdown.

•             Inadequate
training of security agents on policing the pandemic at the different levels or

•             Lack of
compliance by citizens to guidelines and precautionary measures stipulated by
Nigerian Centre for Disease Control and the Presidential Task Force on

•             Increasing
interstate movements which has led to the rise in community infections

•             Extortion
of money from citizens by security personnel deployed to enforce restriction of

6.0 Recommendations

6.1 Commercial banks and other private businesses should
priortise the welfare and safety of customers as they reopen and ensure they do
not add to the suffering of Nigerians through their policies.

6.2 State governments should as a matter of urgency beef up
security at the entry points into their states across the country to help
checkmate continued inter-state movement and spread of COVID19 through
community transmissions. 

6.3 There is the need for community sensitization for
citizens to b law abiding and comply with government directives implemented by law
enforcement agents.

6.4 The National Orientation Agency should adopt different
strategies to communicate to citizens on COVID-19 and policies of the
government especially in the communities and rural areas of the state.

6.5 Law enforcement agents should be proactive in enforcing
social distancing rules, the use of face masks in public and the ban on large
gatherings especially in worship centers. In addition, they should be mindful
of the fundamental rights of citizens.

May God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria and heal our

Benson Olugbuo, PhD
Executive Director, CLEEN Foundation

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