April 21, 2020

Lockdown: ASF France condemns extra-judicial killings by security agents

By Innocent Anaba

Avocats Sans Frontières France (Lawyers Without Borders France), ASF France, has condemned reported brutality and extra-judicial killings of civilians by security agents in the course of enforcing the COVID-19 lockdown in Nigeria.

ASF France’s Head of Office Nigeria, Angela Uwandu, in a statement on Tuesday, said they view the action of security agents as reported by the National Human Rights Commission, NHRC, of having killed 18 citizens in the first 14 days of the enforcement of lockdown regulations on the COVID-19 pandemic, as unacceptable and a direct disregard of their role as protectors of the society.

The statement noted that the figure has since risen in the past few days.

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ASF France, while reiterating its earlier call on security agencies to exercise decorum and respect human rights in the discharge of their duty while enforcing the lockdown, said the brutality and extra-judicial killings carried out by security agents in this context was a violation of international human rights.

Uwandu said: “It is disheartening that the brutality of security agencies in the course of enforcing the COVID-19 lockdown has resulted to more deaths than the pandemic.

“We condemn the flagrant abuse and excessive use of force by security agents during enforcement of the COVID-19 lockdown, leading to several human rights abuses by security agencies.

“Such incidents, as alleged, include 33 incidents of torture, 27 incidents of violation of the right to freedom of movement, and unlawful arrests, 19 incidents of seizure of property and 13 incidents of extortion.

“The impunity and spate of abuse show the disregard by security agencies for human rights while dealing with citizens and on that note, we at ASF France remain committed to assisting victims of human rights abuses and their families seek justice,” she added.