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CLEEN Foundation Observes Sexual and Gender Based Violence Epidemic within a Pandemic: Calls for Government Action Against Perpetrators and Support for Victims, Survivors and their Families

CLEEN Foundation Observes Sexual and Gender Based Violence Epidemic within a Pandemic: Calls for Government Action Against Perpetrators and Support for Victims, Survivors and their Families


For Immediate Release
9:00 pm
Monday, June 15th 2020

CLEEN Foundation
Observes Sexual and Gender Based Violence Epidemic within a Pandemic: Calls for
Government Action Against Perpetrators and Support for Victims, Survivors and
their Families

1.0          Introduction

The Presidential Task Force (PTF)
on coronavirus disease (covid-19) pandemic and the Federal Government on
Monday, June 1, 2020 initiated the second phase of easing the restriction of
movement in the affected locations of Lagos, Ogun and FCT, Abuja. The following
new directives were subsequently issued: nationwide curfew from 10:00 pm to
4:00 am; full opening of the financial sector; restricted opening of places of
worship, (regular church & mosque services only) to be based on State
Government protocols; restrictions on interstate travels except for goods and
essential travel; restriction on gathering of more than 20 persons outside of
workplaces and religious services; closure of educational institutions until
further evaluation.

Taking a que from the above
directives, many state governments followed suit to vary the lockdown and
restrictions in their respective states. Although the Federal Government has
eased the lockdown, new cases of infections remain on the rise. As at Sunday
14th June 2020, Nigeria has 16,080 Covid-19 confirmed cases, 5220 recovered
patients and 420 deaths. The rise in the number of new infections is likely a
combination of increased testing capacity by state governments and lifting of
restriction of movements. 

2.0 Methodology

CLEEN Foundation uses a
triangulation approach involving the collection of primary data by our 36 state
and FCT coordinators and observers in the 774 LGAs tracking Covid-19
developments across the country through reliable secondary sources of
information.  The Foundation received a
total of 2,982 reports across the 774 LGAs across Nigeria disaggregated as

•             1,739
reports on citizens’ compliance to government directives;

•             872
reports on conduct of security personnel enforcing government directives;

•             371
reports on human rights violations by security personnel enforcing government
directives on the   COVID19 pandemic.

These reports have been forwarded
to Government agencies including the National Human Rights Commission, the
Police Service Commission and the Nigeria Police Force (Complaints Response Unit
and the Gender Desk Unit).

3.0 Citizens’ Compliance with Government Directives

There has been a general decline
regarding citizens’ compliance with government directives including the dusk to
dawn curfew, use of facemasks and physical distancing, ban on public gatherings
and inter-state movements.

3. 1. Compliance with Dusk to Dawn Curfew:

Despite the revision of the
curfew to commence from 10:00 pm to 4:00 pm, the general observation across the
country indicate citizens’ lack of adherence to the dusk to dawn curfew imposed
by federal and state governments.

Our observers in the six states
in the South-South region, reported partial compliance by citizens on curfew
and sit at home restrictions by the various state governments. In Edo state, it
was reported that most citizens have ignored this directive which has led to a
rise in defaulters who were arraigned before the mobile courts daily for not
adhering to the curfew. Similarly, in Bayelsa State, our volunteers observed
relative decrease in public compliance with government directive on dusk to
dawn curfew in the state capital, Yenagoa. Citizens were observed moving on
highways and streets at night. Additionally, there is no public compliance with
the dusk to dawn curfew outside the state capital as the Covid-19 taskforce are
yet to enforce government directives. In Cross River state, our observers
reported strict compliance to the curfew directive by citizens as the taskforce
were observed monitoring and ensuring compliance.

In Lagos State, South West
region, it was reported that compliance with the curfew is low as many citizens   are observed
moving on the road after the designated time, though personnel of the Nigeria
Police Force were making efforts in some areas to enforce the curfew.
Similarly, in Ekiti State, it was reported that there was moderate compliance
to the curfew in Ado LGA, however, it was observed that security personnel who
ought to enforce compliance on non-movement during the curfew hours are not
performing their functions with the seriousness it deserves as most of the
security personnel disperse from their checkpoints once it is 10:00 pm. This
has become a convenient time for interstate drivers to convey passengers from
Lagos and Oyo into Ekiti State.

In the North Central region,
specifically in Plateau State, our observers reported low compliance by residents
to the lockdown order by the state government especially in Langtang LGA where
Okada riders and commercial vehicles fully loaded with passengers were seen
frequently plying the roads. Similarly, in Niger State, our observers covering
Shiroro, Lapai, Bida and Kagara communities reported that citizens are not
complying with the curfew directives and are engaging in their normal
activities in these areas. In the Federal Capital Territory, the Ministerial
Taskforce team on the enforcement of Covid-19 restrictions arrested some
persons in drinking bars within Kubwa and Dutse Alhaji axis of Bwari Area
Council for violating the curfew order.

In the South East region, reports
from our observers indicated inadequate compliance to the curfew by citizens in
Imo State and moderate compliance in other South East States. People are
gradually adjusting to their usual night life and businesses without adhering
to the curfew imposed by the government. Bars and hotels have resumed their
usual night operations in some places as previously reported. These
developments have implications on the efforts of the federal and state
government to stop community transmission of covid-19. 

3.2 Non-Compliance with Physical Distancing Guidelines and Use of

Compliance with public health
directives on the use of facemask, adherence to physical distancing in public
places amongst others have decreased across the six geopolitical zones.  In the South-South region, our observers in
Bayelsa State reported that law enforcement and security personnel were
observed not wearing facemasks and complying with physical distancing in some
Police stations in Ekeki, Azikoro, and Akenfa visited by our observers. Lack of
compliance regarding the use of facemasks were also noted in other security
institutions such as the Nigerian Security and Civil Défence Corps (NSCDC)
along Water Board road, Air Force Barracks along Okaka Express Way, Army and
Navy Base at Agudama town in Yenagoa, the state capital. Additionally, most security
personnel on check point and toll stations within and outside the Bayelsa State
capital were observed not wearing facemasks. Apart from Delta State which
recorded reasonable level of compliance with government directives, other
states in this region have recorded a low level of compliance to the use of
facemasks and observing physical distancing. While some citizens are conscious
on the use of facemasks, people are hardly conscious about maintaining physical

Within the period under review
across the six states in the South-West region, reports from our observers
indicated a high level of non-compliance with the public health directives
particularly the use of facemasks and physical distancing in public places.
Life has seemingly returned back to normal despite the daily spike in the
number of new cases of infections across some of the South-West states.

Reports from the North-Central
region revealed low compliance by citizens across the states in the region.
Activities such as burial ceremonies and Local Government elections were
observed to have been held without any recourse to the physical distancing
directives. Compliance with the wearing of facemasks, regular hand washing with
soap and water is generally low, especially in the remote areas across all the states.
Most citizens have returned to their normal day to day activities. The
regulation is only being enforced strictly in public places such as banks and
some supermarkets. Regular markets have resumed their commercial activity with
no compliance to the relevant government directives. In Orange market Mararaba
in Nasarawa State less than 10% of both buyers and sellers at the market were
seen wearing facemasks. The same thing was also observed in Kuje Area Council
of the FCT.

In the South-East region, there were
reports of poor compliance across the states, especially in the markets, motor
parks, public transport vehicles, and bars by our observers. However, the
report from Imo state indicated that some churches visited within the week
showed reasonable improvement in adherence to physical distancing order by
splitting number of services to reduce the congregants.

3.3 Ban on Public Gatherings and Citizens Compliance

About 54% of CLEEN Foundation
observers noted low and moderate compliance to government ban on public
gathering. The observers noted gathering of more than 20 persons against
government directives were well observed across the 36 states and FCT. Some of
these social gatherings included marriages and funeral ceremonies. In the FCT,
a music concert was organised on Saturday 13th June 2020 at the Jabi Lake Mall
featuring Naira Marley, who flew in from Lagos in a private jet. Although a
mobile court has sealed the Mall for two weeks, there are some issues that are
yet to be answered. Who authorised the movement of the Executive Airline
Services from Lagos to Abuja and back? Who approved the music concert under
Covid-19 pandemic? The Ministry of Aviation and Federal Capital Territory
Administration should address Nigerians on who authorised the concert in Abuja
despite the lockdown on interstate travel and restriction of air travel.

Our observers reported that in
Bayelsa state, citizens in Ekeremo LGA were observed holding funerals and wake
activities without public compliance to the ban on public gathering. In
Yenagoa, many churches had over 300 persons in attendance as against the
prescribed number of 200 persons in large church auditoriums as directed by the
State Government. In Delta State, most marriages and
birthdays held were observed to have over 100 persons in attendance as against
the prescribed number of 50 persons. Furthermore, in most churches and mosques
visited in Udu, Ughelli South, Okpe, Isoko South, Patani, and Sapele LGAs of
the state, congregants of more than 50 persons were observed in small
church/mosque auditoriums violating the state government physical distancing

Incidences of public gatherings
such as weddings, burials, relaxation spots, markets and religious gatherings
have been witnessed in Lokoja, Dekina and Idah LGAs of Kogi State in the
North-Central region. Similar reports were received as happening in Ogbadigbo
and Kwande LGA of Benue state as against the ban on public gathering by the
state Government.

Our observers also noted varying
directives on the ban of public gathering in Kaduna, Kano, Katsina, Jigawa,
Kebbi, Sokoto, and Zamfara states in North West region. The ban on public
gathering has only been effective in major city capitals in Kaduna and Kano
states. Our observers confirmed that religious gatherings have fully re-opened
in Zamfara, Kebbi, Katsina, Sokoto and Jigawa without any recourse to relevant
public health concerns.

In the North East region, our
volunteers reported a burial of a traditional chief in Biu LGA of Borno State
where physical distancing was not observed, a crowd of more than 20 attendees
were observed shaking hands.

3.4 Inter-State Movements

Our observers in Akwa Ibom state
reported that some security personnel mainly made up of members of the Nigeria
Police Force and the Nigeria Army at Itu Bridge head at the boundary between
Cross River and Akwa Ibom States were observed collecting bribes and allowing
persons in and out of the state. In Bayelsa state, commercial motorists were
observed conveying passengers from Yenagoa to Port Harcourt, Rivers State and
to Ughelli in Delta State with the compromise of security personnel. In Delta
State, citizens were observed exiting and entering the state on a daily basis
because both the Delta State COVID-19 task force and personnel of the Nigeria
Police Force have been compromised at most of the borders of the state thereby
allowing citizens to move freely to other states despite the restriction on
inter-state movement by the  State
Government. The situation is however different in Cross River State as the
interstate border closure is observed to be enforced as vehicles are not
allowed entrance into the state during the period under review.

In the South West region, our
observers recorded increased interstate movements across the six South- West states.
Reports from Ekiti State indicates that transport fare from Akure, Ondo State
to Ado- Ekiti, Ekiti state is now between N2,000 to N2,500. Other transport
fares reported were Ado -Ekiti to Ibadan which ranges between N5,000 to N,6000,
and Ado-Ekiti to Lagos between N1,200 to N1,500. Several of the violations were
committed in collaboration with law enforcement and security agencies on the
highways who extort drivers and passengers in exchange for free passage.

In the North-Central region,
reports from Ogbadigbo LGA of Benue state has shown a substantial level of
compliance with the ban on interstate movements as a result of reinforcement of
active security personnel manning the entry points from neighbouring states.
Reports from Niger State showed constant movements of vehicles on the
Zuba-Suleja-Minna road as a result of compromised security personnel. Movements
in and out of the FCT from both Abuja-Kaduna routes and Abaji-Lokoja routes
have been continuously reported. Lack of stringent measures in enforcing the
ban on interstate movement has led to more insecurity issues including the
recent kidnap of the Christian Association of Nigeria Chairman, Nasarawa State
Chapter, Bishop Joseph Masin who was later released.

Reports from our observers in
Kaduna state, North-West region, have reported that the state government has
maintained the prohibition of interstate and intercity travel, while government
officials and mobile courts continue to enforce the ban to prevent people from
spreading the coronavirus through non-essential movement.

Reports from our observers in the
South-East region stated that there is free movement of persons across the
various states borders in the South-East. The borders have been very porous due
to the compromising attitude of the security personnel towards enforcing the
inter-state movement ban. Reports from Imo State showed that the borders at
Obowo, Ihitte/ Uboma, Okigwe, Ngor Okpala and Nwangele are porous for
inter-State movements, which may have served as a contributing factor to the
sudden rise in COVID-19 confirmed cases in the state.

In the North-East region, there
are reports of compromise at the borders by security personnel across all the
states by our observers as transporters and commuters are entering and exiting
the respective states thus violating the ban on interstate travel. This has
resulted in conflicts between state task force on Covid-19 and security
agencies as recently witnessed in Borno State

4.0 Reports on Sexual and Gender-Based Violence

There is an alarming increase in
cases of sexual and gender based violence since the beginning of the Covid-19
pandemic in Nigeria. This is as a result of different factors including weak
enforcement of laws, lack of diligent prosecution of rape suspects, stigmatisation
of rape victims, culture, traditions and patriarchy among other issues. The
deaths of Vera Uwaila Omosuwa, 22 years old, a student of University of Benin
in Edo State, and Barakat Bello, 18 years old, a student of the Federal College
of Animal and Production Technology, Moor Plantation, Apata, Ibadan, Oyo State
sparked national out-cry in Nigeria and mobilised activists to demonstrate for
an end to sexual and gender based violence in Nigeria. Despite the out-cry,
more cases have emerged which shows a pattern of impunity and lack of effective
government response. 

In the South-West region, there
were two (2) media reported cases of rape of two (2) young girls in Oyo and
Ekiti States respectively. Unfortunately, the victim in Oyo was murdered in
cold blood while report from Ekiti indicated that some of the suspects were
apprehended and brought to the office of the wife of the Governor who prompted
handing over of the suspects to the police for investigation. Similarly, on
Wednesday 3rd June 2020, men of Ogun State Police Command arrested a 25- year-
old – man, Wasiu Bankole, for forcefully having carnal knowledge of a
70-year-old woman while she was asleep. The suspect was arrested 24 hours after
he committed the offence at Abule Lemode, Ijoko in the Ado-Odo/Ota Local
Government Area of the state. On Thursday, 4th June 2020, a 12-year-old girl,
was gang-raped by four masked men at her residence in Abijo area of Ajah, Lagos
State. She was said to have been raped while playing alone in the compound
around 2pm on Thursday 4th June 2020. Similarly, in the North West region, a
12-year-old girl was purportedly raped by a middle aged (57) man at Limawa
quarters in Dutse local government area of Jigawa state. She has also been
allegedly raped by eleven (11) men at different occasions.

A 13-year old girl was allegedly gang
raped in Kaduna state by four men who had whisked her away on a bike. The
Kaduna State Ministry of Human Services and Social Development has since
launched an investigation. It was gathered that the girl was drugged before
being raped. She was later dumped underneath a stationary vehicle near her

Report from Osun state indicated
that in Erinmo Ijesa area, a man lured a 16-year-old daughter of a family friend
to accompany him to the farm along with two other persons. He thereafter sent
the other two persons to another farm far away, leaving the young girl alone
with him. He thereafter raped the innocent girl. CLEEN Foundation has been
escalated the case to the relevant agencies for urgent investigation and

A 38-year-old man named Simon
Emeka was arraigned in Makurdi, Benue State on June 5th, 2020 for raping his
seven (7) months old daughter. It was alleged that the accused person has been
involved in the crime since the baby was three (3) months old.

An online video that surfaced on
Saturday 6th June 2020 indicated that a two (2) year-old girl at Idumota Lagos
was repeatedly raped by a man and was beaten by her mother who blamed the
child. The matter is currently under investigation by the National Human Rights
Commission and the Lagos State Government.

A 15-year-old boy, identified as
Osayomi, was arrested by the police in Ekiti State for allegedly defiling a
three-year-old girl. The state Commissioner of Police, Mr. Asuquo Amba said the
incident occurred at Iludi, Osi Ekiti, in the Ido/Osi LGA of the state on May
30, 2020, around 5:00 pm. The mother of the three (3) year old victim returned
home from market and discovered that her daughter was rough and stressed. After
a close examination, she noticed fluids on her daughter’s underwear, raising
suspicion that she might have been defiled. Medical examination confirmed her

The Nigeria Governors Forum has
responded by declaring rape an emergency and calling on governors to adopt laws
that will strengthen capacity to deal with sexual and gender-based violence. In
addition, the Federal government has announced the composition of an
Inter-Ministerial Gender-Based Violence Management Committee to tackle issues
of sexual and gender-based violence in Nigeria. CLEEN Foundation will monitor
and report on the effectiveness of these policies announced by both federal and
state governments.

5.0 Conduct of Security Personnel on Enforcement of Government
Directives on Covid-19 Pandemic

About 54% of CLEEN Foundation
observers reported that the security personnel deployed on COVID-19 duty were
of good conduct. This is a decline from 60% good conduct reported last week.
The extra judicial killing recorded in Nasarawa state and other human rights
violations may have accounted for the decline in the conduct of the security
personnel on Covid-19 duty.

5.1 Human Rights Violations

In the North-West region, it was
reported that armed bandits attacked the Doka LGA in Kaduna forcing most of the
villagers to flee their states while leaving nine (9) persons dead. A district
head in Katsina state was attacked and brutally murdered by armed bandits in
the state.

A motorcyclist popularly known as
Okada tried to kidnap a young man in Ogun state who had engaged him for
transport services. After noticing that the Okada rider was taking him on a
different path, the young man notified the rider who claimed he was using a
different route to the young man’s destination. The young man after noticing
they were in a lonely bush path shouted for help and was rescued by some
farmers in the area. There have also been reported deaths in Gubio and Monguno
in Borno State as a result of attacks from Boko Haram insurgents.

6.0 Gaps Identified

1. Despite the fact that the
Covid-19 pandemic is still ravaging different parts of the country, there is an
increase in other public safety and security issues across the country. These
include banditry in North-West, Boko Haram attacks in the North-East and sexual
and gender-based violence against women and girls in different parts of the

2.The wearing of facemasks and
other personal protective equipment in different parts of the country is
gradually becoming a status symbol instead of part of the guidelines to curb
community transmission and stop the spread of the coronavirus pandemic. This
development is worrisome and alarming. 

3. There is increasing
noncompliance by citizens to physical distancing and precautionary guidelines
by Government and Nigerian Centre for Disease Control.

4. Poor enforcement of Government
directives by law enforcement and security personnel.

5. Extortion of citizens by security
personnel for failing to use face masks during interstate travels and lack of
use of use of facemasks and other personnel protective equipment by some
security personnel on covid-19 enforcement duty.

6. Complicity of security
operatives in the non-compliance with interstate movement restrictions imposed
by both the federal and state governments.

7.0 Recommendations

1. State governments that are yet
to domesticate the Child Rights Act 2003 and the Violence Against Persons
Prohibition Act 2015 should do so as a matter of urgency.

2. All security agencies should
establish gender and juvenile desks to deal with rising cases of sexual and gender-based

3. Security personnel should be
provided with personnel protective equipment and adequate hazard allowance.
Those found guilty of violation of citizens’ rights in the enforcement of
government directives should be disciplined appropriately.

4. There is need for aggressive
community sensitization and awareness campaigns on the reality of the pandemic
and the need to adhere to the health and safety guidelines provided by the
government and Nigerian Centre for Disease Control.

5. The Nigeria Governors Forum
should prioritize improving safety and security of the citizens always and in
all places, especially in inner cities and communities.

6. State government should work
with the organised private sector to provide mobile testing units and
First-Responder units especially in low income communities in order to ensure
people, particularly the underserved, have access to testing and emergency
health care.

7. Government should consider
informal policing groups to support the formal policing groups in the
enforcement of the ban on inter-state movement at the borders.

8. There should be greater
commitment from politicians especially members of the National Assembly on how
to deal with issues of rape and the prevalence of sexual and gender-based
violence in Nigeria.

9. Victims and survivors of
sexual and gender-based violence should not be stigmatized by the society.
Nigerian citizens should blame perpetrators not victims, survivors or their
family members.  

May God bless the Federal
Republic of Nigeria and heal our land.

Benson Olugbuo, Ph.D.
Executive Director
CLEEN Foundation

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