The Centre for Social Justice, Equity and Transparency (CESJET) has applauded the Nigerian Army leadership for setting up a mechanism to checkmate human rights abuses by its personnel during enforcement of coronavirus lockdown.
In a circular on Thursday, the Army urged Nigerians to report unprofessional conduct of its personnel during the lockdown ordered by President Muhammadu Buhari in Lagos, Ogun and the FCT.
CESJET believes this is timely, proactive and a well-thought-out move by the Army.
In a statement signed by Executive Secretary, Isaac Ikpa, the Centre says this is another demonstration of the Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Tukur Buratai’s penchant for enhanced civil-military relationship.
CESJET reckoned the move will put the officers on their check and ensure they carry out their duty within the ambit of the law.
The Centre, however, warned the public to be mindful of fake activists that might want to use this opportunity to blackmail the various security agencies by circulating doctored videos of human rights abuses.
To ensure transparency, CESJET says it has successfully launched a situation room to monitor issues of human rights abuses by all security agencies participating in the lockdown.
Read full statement below:
The leadership of the Center for Social Justice, Equity and Transparency welcomes you all to this press conference at the instance of the breakout of the Coronavirus pandemic across the globe.
The Centre for Social Justice, Equity and Transparency wishes to use this medium to salute the various efforts of the Federal Government in containing the further spread of the COVID-19 pandemic in Nigeria.
The efforts thus far are commendable, and in light of the above, the Centre for Social Justice, Equity, and Transparency wish to encourage Nigerians to join hands with the federal government by adhering to the various directives and measures put in place by the Federal Government in this regards.
We wish to put it on record that the World Health Organization (WHO) has indeed stated that one of the measures that all countries must adopt towards an effective containment of the novel virus is a general sit at home policy for a specific period.
It is on the heels of the above that the Federal Government directed the Lockdown of Abuja, Lagos, and Ogun state for an initial period of 14 days to implement the social distancing initiative which has proven to the most robust method in containing the further spread of the Coronavirus in Nigeria. This presidential directive has consequently thrown on the shoulders of the Nigerian Army the arduous task of ensuring the compliance of the Nigerian citizens to the sit at home order.
The Centre for Social Justice, Equity and Transparency is not oblivious of the daunting task of ensuring that Nigerians adheres to this directive without recording cases of human rights violations and degradation by security operatives deployed to the streets.
The Centre for Social Justice, Equity, and Transparency is consequently elated and impressed with the proactive initiative of the leadership of the Nigerian Army in setting up a special desk for members of the public to report cases of unprofessional conduct by Nigerian Army personnel during the COVID-19 Lockdown.
This initiative is indeed a welcome development in the sense that the leadership of the Nigerian Army led by Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai has efficiently responded to concerns raised by well-meaning Nigerians as regards the excessive use of force and human rights abuses by security personnel during this period.
The Centre for Social Justice, Equity and Transparency wishes to use this medium to salute the foresight displayed by the leadership of the Nigerian Army in ensuring that its personnel deployed to enforce the COVID-19 Lockdown does so within the ambits of the law and under a generally accepted practice.
The setting up of the feedback desk by the Nigerian Army would go a long way in ensuring that Nigerian Army personnel do not go overboard in the implementation of the COVOD-19 Lockdown. This is mindful of the fact that some security personnel might engage in acts that might violate the human rights of citizens in the prevailing circumstances.
The Centre for Social Justice, Equity and Transparency also wishes to use this medium to warn members of the general public to be mindful of the activities of fake activists that might want to use this opportunity to blackmail the various security agencies by circulating undated pictures and videos of military personnel violating the rights of citizens to mislead the general public in an attempt to cause chaos in the polity.
The members of the general public must also be aware that this group of mischief-maker dots the nook and crannies of Nigeria looking for every available opportunity to cause unnecessary tension and apprehension in fulfillment of their mandate of fracturing the peace and tranquility in Nigeria.
The Centre for Social Justice, Equity and Transparency wishes to announce that as part of its efforts towards ensuring that the rights and privileges of Nigerians are protected during the COVID-19 Lockdown, it has successfully launched a situation room to monitor issues of human rights abuses by all security agencies participating in the COVID-19 Lockdown across the country and will make its investigations know to the public in due course.
We, therefore, enjoin all Nigerians to support the federal and states government by observing the sit at home order and not allowing themselves to be used by dubious elements to disturb the peace of the country.
The members of the general public must also cooperate with security operatives by ensuring that those mandated to perform essential duties are well accredited with proper means of identification at all times.
The Centre for Social Justice, Equity and Transparency believes that with the efforts of the federal government, the containment of the Coronavirus would be effectively implemented soonest.
Thank you for attending this press conference.