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COVID19: CLEEN Foundation calls for the Expansion of PTF to include Women, PWDs & Youths for Effective Representation of all sections of the society

COVID19: CLEEN Foundation calls for the Expansion of PTF to include Women, PWDs & Youths for Effective Representation of all sections of the society

FILE PICTURE: February 22, 2019

For Immediate Release
9:00 am
Thursday, July 9th 2020

COVID19: CLEEN Foundation calls for the Expansion of
PTF to include Women, PWDs & Youths for Effective Representation of all
sections of the society


Presidential Task Force on 29th June 2020 announced updated guidelines
for the extension of the phase two of eased lockdown across Nigeria effective from
June 30th to July 27th 2020. The extension of phase two
of the eased lockdown will specifically involve:

• Maintaining the present nationwide curfew from10:00
pm – 4:00 am;

• Mandatory use of non-medical facemasks by all
citizens in public spaces with access to government and commercial premises to
be denied for persons not wearing facemasks: ‘No mask, no entry. No mask, no

• Maintaining the restrictions on mass gatherings
(not more than 20 persons) and sporting/ recreational activities;

• Resumption of domestic aviation services from July
8th 2020;

• Resumption of interstate movement and travels
outside curfew hours only;

• Schools to remain shut but pupils and students
eligible for promotional classes (Primary/Basic 6, Junior Secondary School 3
& Senior Secondary School 3) to be allowed to resume school activities in
preparation for the final examinations (National Common Entrance Examination,
Junior West African Examination Council and Senior West African Examination Council);

• Federal and State Government offices to maintain
present work hours of 9:00 am – 2:00 pm for senior officers from Grade level.
14 and above, and Essential Staff from Grade Level 13 and below; and

• Maintaining religious activities as it was under
the phase two

•Banks/Financial Institutions continuing their
operations as allowed under phase two

•Consideration to lock down eighteen (18) LGAs in
Nigeria that account for 60% of the COVID-19 cases to contain the spread of the
coronavirus pandemic in the country

to June 29th, the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 pandemic
and the Federal Government had maintained the second phase of easing the
restriction of movement in the affected locations of Lagos, Ogun and FCT, Abuja
initiated on Monday, June 1, 2020. The directives had included the 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 not more than 20
persons outside of workplaces and religious services; closure of educational
institutions until further evaluation.

usual, many state governments followed suit to vary the lockdown and
restrictions in their respective states. With the continued opening of economy
as well as public and private activities, new cases of infections remain on the
rise at an exponential rate. As at Wednesday 8th
July 2020, Nigeria has recorded 30,249 confirmed cases, 12,373 patients
discharged and 684 deaths in the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory,
Abuja. 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. The following report is based on incidents
recorded by our observers from 16th June to 8th July

2.0 Methodology

continuation of CLEEN Foundation’s intervention, the Covid-19 Nigeria Security
Support Group used a mixed method approach involving collection of primary and
secondary data from reliable official sources of information and received a
total of 6,794 primary data reports across the 774 LGAs across Nigeria
disaggregated as follows:

•           3,838 reports on citizens’
compliance to government directives;

•           2,038 reports on conduct of security
personnel enforcing government directives;

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

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

3.0 Citizens’ Compliance with Government Directives

and observations across the country indicate a general decline in citizens’
compliance with government directives which include the dusk to dawn curfew,
use of facemasks, physical distancing, restrictions on public gatherings and
inter-state movements.

3. 1. Compliance with Dusk to Dawn Curfew

from our observers across the six geo-political zones indicate a varied level
of compliance by citizens to the dusk to dawn curfew imposed by the federal and
respective state governments.  In the
South -South region, it was reported partial compliance by citizens to the
curfew and sit at home restrictions by the various state Governments. For
example, in Bayelsa state, it was observed that the dusk to dawn curfew is
being flouted by citizens in all the Local Government Areas including Yenagoa
the state capital. However, in Delta State, our observers reported high level
of compliance to curfew directives in most part of the state by citizens
especially after the revision of the curfew hours from 10:00 pm – 4:00 am.
Similarly, in Akwa Ibom state, most security agencies were observed enforcing
the curfew hours imposed by the state government and not that of the Federal
government thus, creating confusion amongst citizens on the applicable curfew
hours. The situation is different in Cross River state, where our observers
reported strict compliance to the curfew directive by citizens as the taskforce
were observed monitoring and ensuring compliance. In Edo state a gradual
decline in compliance to the curfew hours have been observed in the state as
motorists still commute at extremely late hours without recourse to government

the North Central region, citizens are observed to be fully returning to their
usual night lifestyle, and the percentage of people adhering to the curfew has
drastically declined across board. However, reports from Kuje and Abuja
Municipal Area Council of the FCT in the North Central region have shown a
moderate level of compliance by citizens. Similarly, in Mariga, Suleja, Gbako
and Shiroro LGAs of Niger state, residents are reportedly complying well to the
curfew directives due to the heavy presence of law enforcement agents.

the South East region, reports from our observers indicated that adherence to
the curfew directive has been effective in some areas and ineffective in other
areas within the region. Specifically, in Anambra state, the curfew is observed
in areas such as Abagana, Nimo, Enugwu-ukwu, Abba, Enugwu-agidi and Nawfia
towns. However, as a result of the non-compliance and increase in Covid-19
cases in Awka South LGA of Anambra state, the curfew period was revised from 8:00
pm – 6:00 am daily until further notice. The same cannot be said for the situation
in Imo state as it was reported that low level adherence was reported as bars
and hotels have resumed their usual night operations in some parts of the state.

3.2 Non-Compliance with the Use of Facemasks and
Physical Distancing Guidelines.

the South-South region, observations across the six states indicate a partial
compliance by citizens on the use of facemasks and physical distancing in
public places. Reports from our observers in Edo state indicated that there was
moderate compliance within the reporting period. A large crowd accompanied the
state governor, Mr Godwin Obaseki when he defected to the People’s Democratic
Party (PDP) did not adhere to physical distancing and the use of facemasks
rules.  There was a moderate level of
compliance during the primaries of the two major political parties in the state
which took place on 22nd June 2020 for the All Progressive Congress (APC)
and 25th June 2020 for the PDP. It was further observed during the primaries,
that all the physical distancing measures put in place at the Sam Ogbemudia
stadium venue of the PDP primaries were later discarded by party faithfuls as
they were observed clustering in numbers while voting for their preferred

Akwa Ibom state, compliance level was reported to be high amongst transporters
but low in worship centres/churches in the state. Reports from Local Government
Areas namely Udung, Okobo, Urue Offong and Mbo indicated that many worshippers
are not complying with the use of face masks. The state capital Uyo and Ibiono
Ibom communities also recorded minimal compliance to the use of facemasks.
Similarly, in Bayelsa state, our observers reported low compliance on the use
of face masks and physical distancing in both rural and urban areas of the
state. Reports received indicate that four (4) big churches were shut down in
Yenogoa due to lack of compliance to government directives.  Furthermore, there were reports of a youth
election held by the Apex body of Epie Atissa National Congress in Yenagoa town
at Bay Bridge Yenezuegene which had in attendance hundreds of youths on   20th June 2020 without any recourse to
physical/social distance nor use of face masks. Also, a big football tournament
was held between Nembe City Football Club and Shining Stars of Bayelsa State on
21st of June 2020 with no adherence to physical/social distancing and the use
of face mask by spectators.

the North Central region, reports across the states indicated little or no
compliance to the use of facemasks and physical distancing. It was observed
within the period that a high level of compliance to the use of facemask was
recorded in worship centers, (amongst the Christian and Muslim faithful) in
FCT, Abuja. Also banks and some other governmental agencies around the FCT
insist on the use of facemasks before entry into the premises. Similarly, the
situation is also not much different in the North East region where our
observers reported mixed compliance by citizens across the states in the region
especially in the use of face masks and observing physical distancing. It was
reported that citizens carry out their normal activities as if there is no
COVID-19 pandemic.

the South East region, reports received indicated low compliance to the use of
facemasks and physical distancing directives across the states. It was recorded
that marketers, worshippers and transporters across the states paid little or
no attention to these government directives. As a result of this low compliance
level in Abia State, it was reported that the Abia COVID-19 taskforce sealed
two churches and one market in Aba for non-compliance to government directives.
Also, in Anambra state, the government shut down the Eke Awka market in Awka
South LGA of the state due to non-compliance with the directives. In Imo state,
especially in Owerri town, football viewing centers are observed to have
resumed their operations without adherence to the use of facemasks and
social/physical distancing guidelines and provision of other health advisories
measures such recreational centres are to have in place. These viewing centers
are characterized by large crowds who are closely seated. The situation was
observed to be different with some churches in the state that have shown
reasonable improvement in adhering to physical distancing directives by
splitting their number of services to reduce over population.

3.3 Ban on Public Gatherings and Citizens Compliance

Foundation observed a decline in public compliance level to government
directives on the ban on public gathering. It was noted that 53% of the
observers noted that there were gathering of more than 20 persons against government
directives across the 36 states and FCT against the government directives of
public gathering not to exceed 20 persons.

the South-South region, it was observed that in Bayelsa state that citizens in
Nembe, Sagbama, Kolokuma, and Brass Local Government Areas of the state were
observed to be holding funerals and marriage ceremonies without compliance to
the ban on public gathering. In Delta State, our observers reported low
compliance as citizens congregated in large numbers in most clubs, bars and marriage
ceremonies in Uvwie, Ughelli North, Sapele, Udu, and Warri South Local
Government areas. In Rivers state, the government issued guidelines on the
conduct of marriage ceremonies in their state. In accordance with the
guidelines, prospective couples are mandated to secure approval from the
Commissioner of Social Welfare, and such ceremonies must have an attendance
limit of 50 persons with each attendee providing detailed contact information.
Furthermore, citizens are directed to obtain an approval from the state government
before conducting burial ceremonies in the state, and a fine of N10 million
imposed for defaulters.

the North Central region, it was observed that in Karu and Akwanga LGAs of
Nassarawa state, there is large patronage of bars and event centres in the
area. In Benue state, social activities including parties for the newly sworn
in Local Government Areas Chairmen in Oju, Makurdi, Obi and Logo Local
Government Areas of the state without any recourse to adhere to the relevant
health advisory guidelines. Similarly, in Mashegu, Agaie Local Government Area
of Niger state and Jos North Local Government Area of Plateau state
respectively, clusters of people were reportedly seen watching football matches
at viewing centres. Also, in Kanam Local Government Area of Plateau state, a
coronation ceremony was reported to have been held where more than 50 persons attended.
In Dekina/Bassa, Koton-Karfe and Idah Local Government Areas of Kogi state,
various activities such as traditional festivals, social and religious
gatherings were observed to be ongoing as normal. Specifically, in Dekina/Bassa
LGA a burial ceremony was organized for the father of a former House of
Representative member which witnessed large attendance of citizens. At all of
these events, it was observed that there was no regard to the relevant health
advisory guidelines particularly on restrictions of public gatherings.

the South Eastern and South Western regions respectively, the reports on
citizen compliance varied.  In the South
East, reports from our observers in Abia state indicated that there is
reasonable compliance to the state government’s directives on public gatherings
as LGA Chairmen have been directed to enforce the directives in their
respective domains. Also, citizens in the state are now mandated to obtain
permits from the state government before holding any events like burials
ceremonies. However, there were reports of social clubs and market union
meetings been held. In Ebonyi state, the government recently allowed a two-week
grace for burial ceremonies to held up to June 16, 2020. In Imo State it was
reported that several burial ceremonies and other public gatherings took place
at different locations without adhering to the ban on public gatherings and use
of personal protective equipment (PPE). 
In the South West, reports from Ondo East LGA in Ondo state indicated
low compliance to the ban on public gathering as people were seriously involved
in political party meetings in preparation toward the upcoming gubernatorial
election in the state.

3.4 Inter-State Movements

the restrictions on interstate movements were lifted on the 29th of
June 2020, the following violations were observed to have been committed across
the six geopolitical zones by citizens and security personnel alike.

the South- South region, our observers reported that the Ughelli -Bayelsa
expressway, Koko-Benin express road and Asaba -Onitsha head bridge have become
a bazaar for security personnel manning those check points who delight in extorting
transporters and commuters alike. It was reported that security personnel
collect between N500- N3000 thousand naira at each check point in Delta State.
In Bayelsa state, commercial motorists were observed to move   passengers from Yenagoa to Port Harcourt
(Rivers state) and to Ughelli (Delta State) with the compromise of security
personnel. In Rivers state, it was observed that security agents and the State
Task Force now collect N1000 from drivers to let them cross the borders.

North Central region, the situation was not different as it was reported by our
observers that the Lokoja-Abuja Highway remained a busy route as people were travelling
despite the restrictions in place. 
Similar reports were received from Abaji Area Council where people moved
freely to nearby towns/villages in Nasarawa and Kogi states unhindered. Reports
from Benue state also showed no compliance to the restrictions as vehicles were
seen moving in and out of the state unhindered especially at the border
communities between Agatu LGA and Nasarawa state where people came into the
state to purchase food items. Vehicles were also seen moving into the state
from Enugu and Cross River states.

our observers in the South-East region indicated that there were free movements
of people across the various states borders in the South-East. In Abia state,
it was reported by our observers that the closure of Abattoirs in neighbouring
states like Cross River had resulted in meat sellers from the other states
coming into Abia state on a daily basis. Similar, reports from Umunneochi, Ukwa
West and other border communities in the state indicated that interstate
movements persisted though on a low key. It was therefore not surprising that
Nigerians celebrated the lifting of the ban on inter-state travel as the
Federal and State Governments created opportunities for security agencies to
collect money from travellers.

4.0 Reports on Sexual and Gender-Based Violence

observe the spike in sexual and gender-based violence crimes – rape and
defilement of minors – across the country. Within the period under review, our
observers documented twenty-three (23) cases across the six geopolitical
zones.  A breakdown includes South-South
– Rivers state (1), Delta state (1), North Central – FCT Abuja (1), Benue state
(5), South-West – Lagos state (2), Ogun state (2), and Osun State (1).  Reports indicate that some of these cases are
undergoing investigation and prosecution.

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

conduct of security personnel deployed to enforce public compliance on government
directive has remained of good conduct as reported by 54% of CLEEN Foundation
observers deployed across the 774 LGAs in Nigeria. 34% of the observers reported
the conduct of the security personnel to be fair while 12% noted that the
conduct of security personnel on COVID 19 duty is poor.

the period, our observers in FCT Abuja reported issues of sharp practices
carried out by private security personnel stationed at Guaranty Trust Bank
(GTB) located at Area 3, Garki, Abuja. The private security personnel at the
bank were observed taking bribes from customers in order to let them go out of
turn and gain entrance into the bank. It has been a recurring decimal as a lot
of customers were observed complaining of the activities of private security
personnel stationed at the Bank.

5.1 Human Rights Violations

rights violations recorded include, public safety and security issues arising
from ongoing banditry in some states of the North Western region, Boko haram
reprisal attacks in the Borno state of the North East and communal clashes in
the South East.  In Jigawa state of the
North West region, there were reported killings following a serious clash between
farmers and herdsmen at Garki Local Government Area of the state. A similar
situation occurred in Danmusa Local Government Area of Katsina State where one security
personnel alongside six villagers were killed on Thursday 25th June
2020 when bandits attacked two villages in the Local Government Area. There
were also reports that in bid to evade attacks by bandits, eight frontline
Local Government Areas of Katsina State have resorted to a truce and payment of
monthly fees to the bandits. Some of the villages allegedly involved are
Unguwar Tsamiya, Birnin Kogo, Bangi, Kahi, and Raba all within Faskari Area
Council as confirmed by a local. The issue of farmer-herder clashes was also
recorded in Agwa community in Oguta LGA of Imo state where it was reported that
herdsmen on Sunday June 14, 2020, killed a 75-year-old farmer, Mr Ozoemena
Iriaka. The incident raised serious tension in the community.

recent attack in Borno state, North East region on the United Nations
humanitarian helicopter on Thursday, 2nd July, 2020 by insurgents and
the killing of two civilians including a 5-year-old child in Damasak reaffirms
the insecurity in the region despite the ongoing pandemic. On the issue of
communal clashes, it was reported that in Abakaliki Local Government Area of
Ebonyi State, on June 8th and 10th 2020 respectively,
there were attacks on the people of Onuenyim and Azuoji villages in Azuoffia
Nduegu Okpuitumo Community by unknown persons from Idoru villages of Obubra LGA
in Cross River state. The attackers destroyed property worth several millions
of naira. In Kano state, the police rescued over three hundred people who were
forcefully locked up in a rice-processing factory and made to work throughout
the lockdown period in the state. These are troubling incidents that require
further investigations by security agents.

6.0 Gaps Identified

  1. Critical
    voices of women, religious leaders, youths, civil society organisations and
    persons living with disabilities are missing in the current membership of
    the Presidential Task Force on Covid-19 pandemic. This should be corrected
    for effective representation.
  2. The
    decline in the use of facemasks, other personal protective equipment (PPE)
    and compliance to other public health advisory by citizens as observed
    across the country to curb community transmission and stop the spread of
    the coronavirus pandemic is very worrisome with the alarming daily
    increase of infections recorded by the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control.
  3. Poor
    enforcement of government directives by law enforcement and security
    personnel observed across the country.
  4. Most
    citizens are not aware of their status due to inadequate testing across
    all states in Nigeria despite ongoing community transmission at all
  5. Refusal
    by persons who have tested positive for COVID 19 to stay in isolation
    centres and designated hospitals for treatment is contributing to the
    community spread and transmission of the coronavirus pandemic
  6. Increasing
    rate of sexual and gender-based violence across the country remains an
    issue of grave concern in need of urgent attention from all government
  7. The
    ongoing banditry in Katsina, Sokoto and Zamfara states of the North West region
    is a security threat on the verge of snowballing into serious insecurity
    issues that can engulf the entire region if not adequately addressed.

7.0 Recommendations

  1. The Presidential Task Force on Covid-19 pandemic should be expanded to include more women, religious leaders, youths, CSOs and persons living with disabilities to ensure effective representation of all sections of the society in the fight against Covid-19 pandemic.
  2. Federal and State governments need to prioritize aggressive community sensitization and awareness campaigns on the reality of the pandemic and the need to adhere to the public health and safety advisory guidelines provided by the Federal Government and Nigerian Centre for Disease Control.
  3. The National Orientation Agency must be seen to play a very strategic role in taking the appropriate message to local communities and grassroots on the effects of community transmission on the nation. 
  4. Nigerian citizens should comply with all non-pharmaceutical guidelines provided by the Presidential Task Force and Nigeria Centre for Disease Control to reduce the increasing spread of the virus as has been observed in recent weeks.
  5. There is need for continued re-evaluation of the strategies deployed by the Presidential Task Force and Nigeria Centre for Disease Control that would be inclusive of community leaders to enhance the strategies particularly now with the increasing community transmission and recorded infections.
  6. State governments should work with the organised private sector to provide mobile testing units to ensure that majority of Nigerians have access to testing and emergency health care services.
  7. We commend the leadership of both houses of the National Assembly on the consideration to organize a joint special session on Sexual and Gender-based Violence which is a step in the right direction to address the issue. We however enjoin the National Assembly to ensure that all recommendations to address the systemic challenges that impede access to justice and comprehensive support for victims, survivors and their families are considered.
  8. The Federal and State Governments should prioritize improving public safety and security of the citizens always and in all places, especially regarding the ongoing security issues in the North West and North East respectively which requires adequate attention.

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

Benson Olugbuo, Ph.D
Executive Director
CLEEN Foundation

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