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Covid-19: CLO Raises Alarm Over Mass Movement of Suspected Infected Persons Across Nigeria

From Ignatius Okpara, Enugu

(AFRICAN EXAMINER) – The Civil Liberties Organization CLO, has raised alarm over the continued mass movement of people across states of Nigeria, especially those suspected to have been infected with the deadly Coronavirus disease, warning that if not immediately checked, the development would spell doom on the nation.

It regretted that despite the interstate lockdown Executive Order invoked by President Muhammadu Buhari and others enacted by various state governors, which are still in active force, “there has been mass movement of persons in their droves across the country.

The organization in a statement signed by its Executive  Director, Comrade Ibuchukwu Ezike, made available to African Examiner in Enugu Monday said the “attention of the Civil Liberties Organisation (CLO) has been drawn to the mass movement of people, especially those who are suspected to be infected by the globally recognized deadly coronavirus disease popularly known as *COVID-19 pandemic.*

“CLO gathered that despite the interstate lockdown Executive Order invoked by President Muhammad Buhari and others enacted by different state governors which are still in active force, there has been mass movement of persons in their droves across the country.

“For instance, it is being reported by the mass media that some state governments in the Northern parts of Nigeria have been returning indigent citizens resident in their states to their states of origin, whereas other large number of people are being moved down in lorries to the southern parts of Nigeria from certain northern states.

CLO, “condemns this brazen abuse of the executive orders passed by Mr. President and governors in Nigeria by some lawless and disobedient Nigerians.

“This flagrant violation of the COVID-19 pandemic Orders banning interstate movement of people and goods in the country is an invitation to uncontrollable spread of the deadly COVID-19 pandemic across Nigeria and, therefore, makes nonsense, the energies, time and huge resources being sunk into the campaign against coronavirus in Nigeria.

It noted that “the massive hardship, suffering and imprisonment of Nigerians for months notwithstanding,  adding that “while we see the criminal evacuation of these unsuspecting, peasants from their states of residence to their states of origin as a gross human rights violation, we hold the state governors and security agents who allow the passage of these persons into their states to aggravate COVID-19 threats in those states accountable.

“We note with dismay that when it is for the interest of these host states, they would retain these poor and unprotected citizens as their own citizens during the national census to boost their populations, drawing more funds from the national purse and increases in their local revenue, and during national elections to win more votes.

“But regrettably, they are now repatriating them to their states of origin in times of emergencies like the COVID-19 pandemic. We make bold to say that Nigerians in foreign nations some of whom are infected by COVID-19 disease have not been deported to Nigeria.

“Moreover, national centers have been established in various States of Nigeria where patients of coronavirus disease could be quarantined for treatment till they are well.

The organization argued that instead of taking these Nigerians to these centers, some state governments are transporting them from one state and region to others and helping to escalate the dangers and spread of this disease.

“Government and its agencies allowing this lawlessness to persist is assisting  to support some persons who argue that COVID-19 is a fraud and concoction meant to deceive the citizens and an invitation to plunder the Treasury.

“CLO Calls on the National Human Rights Commission to wake up to its responsibility by intervening in this serious matter by investigating and prosecuting any Nigerian whether as an individual or working for the state or any government or its agencies who are involved in this criminal, wicked and lawless act.

It said  the security agencies including state security institutions such as the Neighborhood Watch, Forest Guards and Amotekun etc should brace up to the challenges by ensuring that no person or group of persons not authorised by law are allowed into their states from other states throughout the duration of interstate lockdown Orders.

“Lastly, CLO urges the citizens to stand up in defence of themselves and their states by collaborating with their state governments, security agents and the state and federal government committees and Task forces working in support of the anti COVID-19 Campaigns in Nigeria and ensure that no illegal persons or goods enter their states until the lockdown orders are lifted.

“However, we call for full compliance with the laws in order to ensure that human rights are not infracted upon.” stressing that any positive step we take as a people brings us nearer to freedom.”


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