FEMI FALANA, human rights lawyer, has written to Nigeria’s National Human Rights Commission, NHRC, to set the records right, that 21 persons were extra-judicially killed by security agents, and not 18, during the first 14 days of coronavirus lockdown in Nigeria, when, indeed, lives were being threatened by coronavirus disease, and expected to be saved.
NHRC report released, Wednesday, said 18 persons were extra-judicially executed by security agents while enforcing the lockdown ordered by Nigerian government in Lagos, Ogun and the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Abuja, to curb the spread of Covid -19 disease in the country.
Falana’s letter to the NHRC’s Executive Secretary, Tony Ojukwu, Thursday, said three other killings were not captured in the report. The letter’s subject is: “Re: COVID-19 Killings By Security Forces”.
In parts, the letter says: “Our attention has been drawn to your report on the 18 people that were brutally killed in Kaduna, Abia, Niger and Katsina states by the armed personnel of the Nigerian Army, Nigeria Police Force and Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps deployed by the Federal Government to enforce the COVID-19 Regulations.
“However, we have confirmed the unlawful killing of three other persons after the compilation of your report. Specifically, a taxi driver in Cross River State while two other persons were shot dead by the police in Anambra State. Thus, you will agree with us that 21 Nigerian citizens have lost their lives in the hands of trigger-happy security personnel under the pretext of enforcing the COVID-19 regulations.”
The Commission, Falana said, needed to update its report and investigate the extra-judicial killings by security personnel under the pretext of enforcing the regulations on Covid-19. And compensation needed to be paid to the victims’ families.
His words: “Apart from updating your report, we urge you to use your good offices to conduct an investigation into the unlawful killing of the 21 persons and ensure that the culprits are prosecuted for murder or culpable homicide. Furthermore, we request you to ensure that the bereaved family members of the slain citizens are adequately compensated by the federal government.”