…Calls for civil monitoring c’ttee
Following the controversies trailing the lockdown of some states in the country, the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) has expressed concerns over alleged intimidation of civilians by security personnel.
In a statement issued and signed by the association’s Warri branch Chairman, Michael Asugo made available to journalists in Asaba, the NBA argued that the two- week restriction order by Governor Ifeanyi Okowa which started April 1, does not amount to a house arrest, adding that it was the right direction with a view to ensuring Deltans are not infested with the dreaded disease
Although, admitting that the lockdown was to ensure social distancing as prescribed by the World Health Organization ( WHO) and prevent any possible outbreak of the coronavirus please in the state, Asugo accused security agents of misunderstanding the lockdown directive.
He added that ” it has become imperative to draw the attention of the Delta state government and the heads of the various security outfits in the state to the seemingly lack of understanding of the directive being exhibited by security personnel who are supposed to ensure compliance with the directive.”
The statement added that the stay at home directive, as far as Deltans are concerned, does not amount to a house arrest for anybody in the state as members of the public have the right to leave their houses to the nearest essential service provider within their areas.
” Consequently, some members of the public who have ventured out of their homes to access these essential services, are being harassed routinely and daily,” the association declared.
The association however, called on the government to set up a committee to monitor the compliance of security agencies, stressing that security personnel should be re-educated on what was expected of them during the lockdown, adding that it was the best way to ensure compliance.
Recall that Lagos, Ogun and Abuja were locked down on the orders of President Muhammadu Buhari while Delta, Rivers, Anambra and Enugu states are some of the states to have declared total lockdown in the wake of the outbreak of the coronavirus ravaging the country.
Investigation revealed that at roadblocks mounted at Okwe Junction by Summit Road Junction in Asaba, among others, security agents openly demand money from violators, especially commercial drivers after collecting N200 or N300.
Some persons, particularly the commercial bus drivers plythe Benin Onitsha routes who spoke to journalists on condition of anonymity described the situation as pathetic, adding that ” there is no security in this state as the civil defence corps, policemen, and road safety officials openly collect money from us before allowing us to pass.”
Bu, the state Commissioner of Police, Hafiz Inuwah, in a swift reaction, said that any officer caught in the act will be summarily dismissed, warning that the police will ensure strict compliance to the restriction order by security agents at different locations and roadblocks in the state.